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‘Africa underfunding health sector’

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World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Ghenbreyesus has accused African leaders and their Health ministers of grossly underfunding the health sector, thereby compromising the health of the general populace.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

South African Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi
South African Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing WHO regional conference for Africa in Victoria Falls, Ghenbreyesus said the global health body was concerned with the shrinking health budgets against increasing emerging diseases, some linked to climate change.

“In our discussions with Health ministers, they spoke on this matter. What we have agreed is that we should engage Finance ministers and heads of States and governments to have political will towards the health sector. The health sector cannot be funded by governments alone. We are a also talking of the private sector financing the same,” he said.

The conference, which brings together Health ministers from Africa, is focusing on funding of the health sector to tackle emerging diseases and natural disasters.

The conference also seeks to find ways to ensure the marginalised populations have equal access to primary health care with statistics showing that currently access to health is a preserve of the elite.

South African Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi challenged WHO to lobby for an international health policy that prioritises public health laws ahead of diplomacy and tourism. He said most governments were concerned with diplomatic relations and growth of the tourism industry even when it compromised public health.

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