FUNDS for healthcare in Africa are likely to become more scarce, Alexander Forbes Health said yesterday.
The group said governments around the world were focusing on keeping their own health systems afloat and funds for African healthcare were likely to decrease.
However, Africa was revisiting the issue of public-private partnerships in the delivery of national health, said health actuary Bode Olajumoke.
"As such, South Africa's own National Health Insurance debate is happening at an opportune and, hopefully, instructive time for the continent," Olajumoke said.
Constitutional imperatives aside, the South African government correctly recognised that the economic potential of a nation was partly rooted in its ability to provide adequate healthcare to its people, he said.
"Given the scale of this task, the funding required and the skills sets that need to be assembled, it is becoming obvious that all sources of investment, skills and technology, including those in the private sector, should be mobilised in the struggle to make African countries healthier."
Olajumoke said to this end "and very fortunately for South Africa", several private healthcare providers and funders had already pledged their commitment to assist the government design and implement a sustainable NHI model by leveraging the expertise of the private sector.
"A case in point was the collaborative effort between South African medical schemes to lobby the government to allow private medical schemes to assist implement the proposed NHI system. Discovery and Momentum have been particularly active in this regard," Olajumoke said.
"Such collaborative effort is likely to revolutionise healthcare in South Africa and has already helped identify how other African governments can foster public-private cooperation in the healthcare sector," he said.
Steps African governments could take to foster an environment suitable for the kind of public-private partnerships that would develop functioning health care sectors in Africa included increasing the proportion of GDP allocated to healthcare, focusing especially on education, preventative care and investment in community health centres.
Focus had also to be placed on limiting systemic wastage in the delivery of healthcare services, Olajumoke said.
It was also important to ensure that existing beneficiaries of private healthcare did not experience a disruption in service levels when public-private partnerships commenced. - Sapa