Dr Makubalo said the increase exceeded the global healthy life expectancy by five years year-on-year, thanks to better essential health services, improved health service coverage, and improved health. reproductive and maternal health and health services to address infectious diseases.
Despite the progress made, “we certainly have a lot of work to do and we seem ready to move forward together,” said the WHO Africa official, warning that life expectancy in the Africa region remains below the global average of 64 years.
“Unless countries step up and invest more in health system development and implement effective catch-up plans, these life expectancy gains could easily be lost,” she said. She said, warning that the COVID-19 pandemic has “greater disruption” to essential health services in Africa than in other regions which could also affect estimates of healthy life expectancy. of this continent.
Health systems across the continent have been unduly stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic but also by other disease outbreaks such as monkeypox, cholera and Lassa fever. Countries like Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, are battling five outbreaks of the disease.
To improve the health system beyond pre-pandemic levels and achieve “quality, equitable and accessible services for all,” said Dr. Makubalo, an important step would be strengthening financing for public health. more than half of their annual national health spending.
“Over the past 20 years, out-of-pocket spending has increased in about 15 countries,” the official said, adding about the health situation in Africa, calling on countries to do more to improve their ability to access to essential health services.
According to Moses Kitele of the Botswana Ministry of Health, a case in point for countries that have seen large increases is Botswana, where universal health coverage is “the cornerstone of development and the response or approach of us towards the delivery of health care in the country”.
“We have made some progress in achieving UHC (universal health coverage) especially with regard to alleviating financial hardship,” Dr Kitele told the press conference, citing a Recent WHO-funded research shows that less than 1% of households in Botswana face catastrophic health spending related to healthcare.
Makubalo, WHO’s assistant regional director for Africa, said a similar feat could be replicated in other parts of the continent. The WHO’s State of Health in Africa report, she said, “provides us with an opportunity to reflect on where we are and the progress that has been made”.
“We cannot be complacent; There is still a lot of work to be done, especially in the post-COVID-19 period,” said Makubalo. “We need to keep the investment, keep the effort, keep building and keep working together.”