Members of the Future of Health and Economic Resilience in Africa (FHERA) Core Panel met in Dakar, Senegal, from March 14-15, 2022.
The Panel is co-chaired by Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Professor of Public Health Leadership Practice at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Minister Prof. Awa Coll Seck, Minister of State for the Presidency of Senegal. It includes key leaders, academics and practitioners affiliated with the World Health Organization (AFRO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Africa Center for Disease Control, the Pasteur Institute of Dakar, the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research, the Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation, the Brookings Institution. , Agence Française de Développement, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and partners such as The Lancet, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Susan Thompson Buffett Founded and facilitated by McKinsey & Company.
The Core Panel appreciates His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal and 2022 Chairperson of the African Union, for his support of the initiative and his strategic leadership on the continent.
The Initiative is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sector platform of panelists, positioned at the intersection of policy, research and scholarship, and action for impact on the African continent. It aims to contribute to the emergence of a better future for health and economic resilience in Africa, based on experiences before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in line with the African Union‘s Agenda 2063, which envisions a united, prosperous, peaceful and people-centred continent on a sustainable planet.
During its deliberations in Dakar, the Core Group identified key principles and priority areas for achieving its objectives. There is an urgent need to reshape the narrative of African health systems towards autonomy and self-sufficiency and to develop strategies and partnerships accordingly. It is essential to focus on prevention and promotion of public health and community well-being, in an integrated manner, taking into account changes in disease burden and determinants, such as education, hygiene, nutrition, migration, agriculture and food systems, climate change and the environment.
Health can be a key driver of economic growth with African youth and women as arrowheads for societal transformation. The panel called for reforms in policies, systems and regulatory structures to improve efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and responsiveness to the needs of communities and citizens. Political leadership is needed to prioritize domestic financing to meet the health expectations of their citizens, while redirecting external assistance to follow African-led priorities and mechanisms. Workforce development, in particular expanding initial training, optimizing deployment and mobilizing the African Diaspora are important areas of focus. To get back on track towards true universal health coverage, the development of community-based primary and hospital health systems must be integrated with strengthened public health systems for epidemic prevention and response.
The Group stressed the urgency of improving local production, developing large-scale and sustainable value chains for pharmaceuticals, health products, nutritional products, devices and related technologies; regulatory reforms and realizing the value of a continental market for health services, in particular by reviving a mandate for health care in the African continental free trade
agreement (AfCTA). Expanding private sector investment and promoting digital and analytical ecosystems would improve access and quality of healthcare.
With the FHERA initiative now activated, the panel and working groups will develop programs in the identified priority areas and engage in relevant consultations and policy dialogue, to make recommendations and propose options as a “brain trust ” for the leaders of the continent.