The Future of Health
Thursday 3 June 2021
Public Lecture and Panel Discussion: African Agency and the Future of Public Health in Africa
Abstract: Healthcare systems in most African countries are failing, and this is evident from significantly poor health outcomes. Beyond conflict, poverty and inequality experienced in different African countries, at different levels, other challenges experienced in their respective healthcare sectors include a shortage of human resources, meagre healthcare budgets, and poor leadership. Healthcare on the continent must be in the hands of Africans to realise well-designed and efficacious healthcare systems. They must fully participate in the entire medicine value chain from investment, research and development, clinical trials, manufacturing, distribution and delivery to citizens. This requires enhanced pharmaceutical and bio-tech capabilities across the continent. Continental, regional and national health policies must be driven by wellness (preventative) and not disease management (curative). The best way to achieve these aspirations is an Africa-wide strategy leveraging the economies of scale gained through continental integration and African unity, anchored by the African Diaspora. All this should be enhanced by partnerships – on African terms – of the continent as one entity with partners from both the Global North and South. Africans must have total collective agency in all matters of public health. The lecture was given by by Professor Arthur Mutambara, an independent technology and strategy consultant as well as a Visiting Full Professor at the University of Johannesburg. Opening remarks were given by Professor Bettine van Vuuren, Senior Director: Strategic Initiatives & Administration, at UJ, and the panellists were Salma Abdalla, Lead Project Director, Rockefeller Foundation-Boston University 3-D Commission, Boston University, US; and Professor Maleselo John Lamola, Associate Professor, Institute of Intelligent Systems, UJ. Professor Ben Smart, Director of the Future of Health, IFK, was the moderator.