Health in Africa
Although healthcare is generally considered a public good, many African governments struggle to meet the demand for health care of their populations.
Population growth and the rise of non-communicable diseases are increasing the burden placed on their health systems even further. Public and private healthcare systems are plagued by lack of investments in infrastructure and equipment, limited enforced standards, unreliable information and inadequate training and staffing. The situation is worsened by the lack of regulation, which increases the risk for investors in the healthcare sector. While Africa carries over 60% of the global disease burden, only 1% of worldwide healthcare expenditure is spent on the continent.
As public healthcare providers are often few and far between, overcrowded, understaffed and poorly stocked, more than 50% of people pay out-of-pocket for health care at private clinics whose quality also leaves much to be desired. Only 4% of healthcare expenditure in Africa is covered by health insurance. The fact that health insurance remains out of reach for most people means that, when they are injured or become ill, they can become trapped in a downward spiral of lost income paired with high and unexpected healthcare costs. Also, without solid institutions and proper standards, there is no way to ensure the quality of health care services.
These shortcomings of the health system come at a price – for the individuals, but also for their communities and even their countries. After all, healthy populations are a major driver of economic growth.
The Health Insurance Fund supports organizations that are addressing these issues. Click here to read more about our objectives.