PharmAccess is marking its 20th anniversary with a call to action to fast-track universal health coverage in sub-Saharan Africa.
PharmAccess has been striving to make inclusive health markets work in Africa and is calling key healthcare stakeholders in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania to to action to help achieve a breakthrough in access to better healthcare for all.
Over the past decade, people in sub-Saharan Africa have been steadily living longer and in better health due to, amongst others, reductions in infant and childhood mortality, increased access to medical treatment including for AIDS/HIV, and improved nutrition. Nevertheless, to receive quality health services, many face financial hardship through high out-of-pocket health costs – influencing people to postpone or skip health visits entirely.
The United Nations officially designated 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day), to hold leaders accountable for their promise of health for all.
According to PharmAccess CEO Nicole Spieker said through the partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PharmAcces has over the past 20 years empowered thousands of healthcare workers and policymakers to provide better care to their communities.
“This year’s UHC Day is the moment to ask our partners to state and commit to their engagements so we can reach the goal of access to quality healthcare for everyone.’’ She said.
PharmAccess utilizes innovative strategies such as mobile technology, sustainable finance models, and financial protection for vulnerable and low-income groups. In the context of 20-year PharmAccess, country offices are hosting a series of events addressing the biggest issues inhibiting inclusive healthcare in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania.
In Ghana, PharmAccess works with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), which has an active membership of over 12 million people. PharmAccess and the NHIA are strengthening their collaboration, working with data experts, and offering support to institutionalize data insights and further enhance the impact and sustainability of Africa's most inclusive health insurance scheme.
In Nigeria, even though 34 out of 36 states have signed the health insurance bill to make health insurance mandatory for all, most are yet to start implementing it. Universal health coverage in the country will only be reached through increased funding for health. PharmAccess Nigeria will therefore launch a series of expert sessions aimed at advancing new sources of funding and placing healthcare financing centrally on the policy agenda for the national and local governments.
Mobile and digital technology are already fast-tracking improvements in virtually all sectors in Africa, but especially in Kenya, with a SIM penetration of 120%. However, the health sector is yet to embrace the full potential of digital technology. Therefore, PharmAccess Kenya, together with the SDG Coalition, will organize a convention to create synergies in technology and innovation, capitalizing on the opportunities at hand to improve healthcare financing.
PharmAccess Tanzania is organizing an event in Zanzibar around sustainable health financing and quality improvement with the intent to build stronger partnerships and inspire with thought leadership. Over the past years, PharmAccess has developed models to improve access to and utilization of health services, particularly among the poor. Through digitalization, data insights, and dashboards, policy makers are empowered to make informed decisions. Now it is time to scale proven models to increase impact.
For more information on the calls to action and initiatives in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria to reach UHC by 2030, visit: www.pharmaccess.org/20-years