Leaders from across Africa will come together on Thursday (30 May 2019) to deliberate on critical issues facing health systems in the region at the Africa Health Exhibition and Conferences, the largest platform of its kind on the continent.
Ryan Sanderson, Exhibition Director for Africa Health, believes that the Leaders Forum taking place on 30 May, will provide an opportunity for Health Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other thought leaders to come together in the interest of finding workable solutions to some of the region’s challenges.
“We believe that increasing globalisation brings with it many advantages, but it also puts a strain on health systems due to outbreaks, conflicts and the like . This platform will enable leaders from across the healthcare spectrum to exchange ideas and knowledge that will lead to more responsive health systems in the region,” Sanderson says.
Africa is the continent which bears the brunt of the burden of disease from both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Half of all deaths occurring from infectious diseases occur in Africa, with 69% of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa caused by diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria. An African person is more likely to die from a non-communicable disease like diabetes or heart disease than anyone, from any age group, living in the rest of the world . While weak and fragile health systems are the cause of deadly epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak, it is the leadership which must rise to the challenge of fixing the systems that enable these devastating occurrences.
According to Dr Margaret Mungherera, a past President of the World Medical Association, developing leadership capacity should therefore be the main emphasis of any effort aiming to reduce Africa’s disease burden .
To address this, the forum will include a key session on ‘Leadership in a new era of healthcare’, where both established and aspiring leaders will present their views on developing solutions and driving change towards a health system for all.
Deputy Minister of Health Development in the Republic of Somaliland and speaker at the Africa Health Leaders Forum, Hon. Liban Yusuf Osman believes that an effective leader has a vision, mission and clear objective to achieve their goals.
“Leaders must articulate their vision clearly, passionately and by ensuring that teams understand how individual efforts can contribute to a higher-level goal for the health outcomes and health systems,” he points out.
Hon. Liban Yusuf Osman adds however, that reforms in leadership are required to replace current top-down leadership structures with inclusive, participatory, negotiation-based leadership required by the complex nature of contemporary health systems.
Increasing the number of women leaders in healthcare is also imperative for a transformed healthcare regime in the region. René Toua, Chief Clinical Officer of Mediclinic will address delegates on this topical subject and explore the unique role women can play in the boardroom to make sustainable changes in the system.
A session entitled, ‘Modernising healthcare in today’s consumer-based economy’, promises to provide a glimpse into current and future disruptive technology in healthcare and prompt examination into whether these will assist in creating an open, transparent and consumer-driven healthcare ecosystem.
The plethora of new technology entering the healthcare market means that health leaders must also possess the ability to discern between innovations that will provide value through improving health outcomes for their population and those that will place strain on budgets without realising the required benefits. Procurement of technology, without the proper cost benefit analyses can mean a waste of valuable health resources.
Hon. Liban Yusuf Osman says that several initiatives exist which could provide greater efficiencies in purchasing of medicines and technology for healthcare. “An example of such an innovative approach is pooled procurement, which enables consistent and sustainable supply of essential medicines. Other initiatives identified to assist in ensuring efficient procurement include collaboration with regional and global initiatives on quality assurance, prequalification of suppliers, information sharing on pricing and the regulatory status of TB products.”
Sanderson explains that Africa Health’s new feature area, The Innovation Zone, will provide the opportunity for leaders and other delegates to engage first-hand with product specialists, view live product demonstrations and attend presentations from a variety of healthcare innovators. Delegates will also benefit from presentations on Health Technology Assessment, Medical Device Regulation, Funding of Innovations and a host of other topics that seek to offer a greater access to healthcare.
Among the local and international organisations participating in this brand new space, will be WITS Enterprise and Promake Pty ltd demonstrating 3D printing technology, Lactease and Gracious Nubian showcasing women’s health solutions, Genetic Research & Innovative Diagnostics on the latest in genetic testing and many more.
“We believe that by supporting efforts to achieve effective leadership, we are helping to create health systems and societies that are engaged, responsive and cohesive,” concludes Sanderson.
Speakers on the Africa Health Leaders Forum include Dr Chitalu Chilufya, Hon. Minister of Health in Zambia; Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Minister of State for Primary Healthcare in Uganda; Hon. Julieta Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health in Namibia and Mr Farid Fezoua, President & CEO of GE Healthcare Africa.
Each year, Africa Health demonstrates its commitment to building a healthy and effective society though contributing the proceeds of the conferences to a charity. This year, Africa Health will be partnering with the Reach for a Dream Foundation, an organisation that inspires children to fight their life-threatening conditions through fulfilling their dreams.
Africa Health will take place from the 28 -30 May 2019 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg.