Amref calls for greater private sector engagement in African healthcare

Since our founding in 1957, Amref Health Africa has trained more than 600,000 African health workers.

A growing urban middleclass that is willing to pay for better healthcare has opened the door to greater private sector engagement in African healthcare as revealed during Africa Health Business Symposium in Nairobi.

The symposium brought together key players from government, private sector and civil society to develop a framework for greater private sector engagement in African healthcare.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa Group CEO stressed the importance of making healthcare a profitable venture for private sector through public private partnerships (PPPs).

“Close to 50 per cent of expenditure in African healthcare comes from private sector. There is a clear opportunity for private sector, what we need to do to tap into this opportunity is ensure that private sector gets a reasonable return on investment,” said Dr. Gitahi in his keynote address at the conference.

Private sector has started playing a new vibrant role in African healthcare, often working in partnership with donors and governments, to provide better healthcare solutions and increased access to medicine at affordable prices.

“PPPs are the model that will work. We need a clear framework for partnerships, one that serves the interests of government, private sector and non-governmental players,” said Dr. Gitahi, adding that an emphasis by the government on Universal Health Coverage was a precondition for profitable private sector engagement in healthcare.

Also present at the Symposium were representatives from General Electric, Phillips, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and World Economic Forum, among others. The diverse list of attendees underscored the growing relevance of the discussion on the role of private sector in African healthcare.