Brussels / Cape Town, 28 October 2021] – In association with the 2021 World Health Summit, the Africa-Europe Foundation released today its flagship report on “Pandemic Preparedness and the Future of Healthcare”.
The report, developed with the Foundation’s High-Level Group of Personalities from Africa and Europe that brings together some of the world’s most experienced leaders and high-impact organisations, provides a blueprint for preventing future pandemics and leveraging inter-regional cooperation to build resilient healthcare systems and the health workforces of tomorrow.
With the global pandemic far from over, international efforts for equitable vaccine distribution must be accelerated to reach the World Health Organization target and ensure that 70% of populations in all income groups are fully vaccinated by September 2022. Increasing medical manufacturing capacity in Africa is crucial to addressing the promises on vaccines for Africa and to changing the power imbalances in global health governance.
Challenging and changing these imbalances in global health governance will be crucial if health systems are to withstand the impact of the climate crisis. The climate imperative is a health imperative, and the Africa-Europe partnership must look to simultaneously develop climate-resilient health systems whilst working to prevent the most extreme climate change scenarios. As with the pandemic, prevention and preparation will be far less costly – in economic, social and environmental terms – than responding when it’s too late. Digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, can play a key role in overcoming some of the shortfalls in the health systems of both Africa and Europe. With the focus of the European Union and African Union on digital transformations, the future of the Africa-Europe partnership may well be built on shared interests in digital healthcare.
Commenting on the launch of the report, Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General & Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Member of the Africa Europe Foundation’s High-Level Group of Personalities, stated:
“Africa and Europe must seize the opportunity to build a stronger global health coalition. The High-Level Group report and its recommendations provide a much-needed and concrete roadmap for policymakers across both continents to work together as a united front as they plan for the health systems of the future. As the UN Economic Commission for Africa we look forward to supporting the Foundation in transforming Report’s main recommendations into action.”
Gunilla Carlsson, Co-Chair of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health and Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said:
“Africa and Europe cannot waste the opportunity to better work together and strengthen Africa’s hand in global health governance. I support the report’s call to scale-up financing for African healthcare systems as a whole and investing in specific production capacity for Africa-made vaccines.”
Wuleta Lemma, Honorary Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Health and AI at Wollo University (Ethiopia), CEO of Lalibela Global-Networks and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health added:
“Returning to the pre-pandemic status quo is not an option. I strongly commend the report’s effort to highlight that pandemic-proof healthcare systems will require bridging the digital divide in both Europe and Africa through a shared approach to legal and regulatory frameworks for health data and a collaborative technology transfer agenda that will build the Health Data Space.”
From COP26, through the EU-Africa Summit and onto COP27, there is a unique opportunity to mobilise resources for investment in resilient health systems and pandemic preparedness. The Africa-Europe Foundation will be at the forefront to ensure that Africa-Europe relations will be centred on reshaping the international agenda to work at the nexus of health, climate and development.
Download the full report here.