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African-Led Innovation 'Imperative' To Overcoming Health Issues On The Continent

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Carel IJsselmuiden, executive director of the Council on Health for Development Group, writes that “Africa must turn its health research into treatments for African people,” noting, “Despite large investments being made by donors in health products and delivery of health services, a large percentage of Africans still have limited access to sufficient and quality healthcare — especially in rural areas.” He notes that a “recent report, Investing in health for Africa —  released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and USAID to name a few of the partners — says average additional spending in sub-Saharan Africa of $21 to $36 could in 2015 alone save more than three million lives, 90 percent of which would be women and children.”

He writes, “A critical component of turning African-led health research into products and treatments is to increase capacity building and skills in this sector,” noting, “Higher education institutions in Africa need more resources to generate knowledge and expertise, and African institutions need to coordinate health research more effectively.” He continues, “National governments must set their own priorities for research, train people to work in laboratories and universities, and provide incentives for innovation,” and concludes, “As many developed countries begin to cut aid budgets, it is imperative that African-led innovation is applied to address African health needs. … It is this approach that will mark a new era in overcoming Africa’s health issues” (6/11).