The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted global inequities in access to healthcare and vaccination as well as structural weaknesses of the health sector in developing countries. Africa is particularly hit by major diseases other than COVID-19, which are seeing a resurgence while 99% of its vaccines are imported. How can technology transfers and capacity-building offer a response to these challenges?
The panellists agreed that COVID-19 had highlighted how fundamental having good healthcare systems is to countries’ economies and security. They underlined the role of politics and policy in healthcare development, and stressed that economic and finance ministers should be involved in this regard. The audience heard that investment is needed in areas of hard infrastructure, such as energy, water and digitalisation, but also in education and the retention of workers. Good governance was identified as being paramount to ensuring strong healthcare systems, though panellists agreed that this is not only the domain of governments, and that non-state actors, such as the diaspora, NGOs and churches, should also be involved.