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AfDB outlines new health infrastructure strategy for ECOWAS health ministers

Felix Oloyede

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AfDB outlines new health infrastructure strategy for ECOWAS health ministers

The Vice President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Dr Beth Dunford, outlined the details of a new strategy that seeks to boost access to health services across the continent.

Dunford delivered the message in a keynote address at the 22nd regular session of the Assembly of Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja.

Opening the meeting on behalf of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s Health Minister Osagie Ehanire noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the fragility of health systems and infrastructure in the subregion.

“The challenges posed by the pandemic have strengthened our collective determination as a region to rebuild better, and part of our strategy is to work together as a regional bloc. In this regard, we appreciate and commend the support and leadership role of our development partners, such as the African Development Bank Group, in developing quality health infrastructure across the continent, ”said the Minister of Health.

Representing Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina at the event, Dunford explained that the strategy focuses on three categories: primary health care infrastructure for underserved populations; develop new secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities alongside specialized facilities for cancer diagnosis and treatment, dialysis and pain management; and building a diagnostic infrastructure for efficient and effective disease diagnosis in Africa.

“Covid-19 is a wake-up call to the central role of health systems and infrastructure for inclusive economic growth,” said Dunford, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. “Developing a quality health infrastructure is a triple imperative: health infrastructure is essential for public health, has a significant economic impact and is of strategic importance for governments,” he added.

Currently, in the consultation phase, the strategy involves policy dialogue and technical assistance on effective financing strategies, including the expansion of health insurance. Its implementation will boost the continent’s efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which refers to good health and well-being.

Dunford said the Bank was prepared to play a critical role as a health infrastructure financier by drawing on its experience in infrastructure development and working with industry partners.

“The portfolio will include investment projects, results-based financing, risk-sharing instruments to leverage private sector resources, debt and equity investments in private companies and the promotion of innovative sources of financing, such as diaspora funds,” Dunford said filling the funding gap for health infrastructure would require mobilizing funds from the private sector, development finance institutions and diaspora groups. “The Bank cannot do it without your ownership and support,” he said.

African Development Bank Outlines New Health Infrastructure Strategy for Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States
Stanley Okolo, Director General of the West African Health Organization, welcomed the Bank’s initiative to support the development of quality health infrastructure in Africa.

The African Development Bank launched $1 billion Covid-19 Response Center and issued a Covid-19 bond of $ 3 billion to support the efforts of African countries to mitigate the economic and health impacts of the pandemic.

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