A look at possible health care scenarios in 2022 Africa

Surgeons at a work at a hospital in Nigeria. Photo by: sixoone / CC BY

How will Africa’s health care system look like if local governments increased investments in the sector, addressed gaps in access and re-evaluated their ties with the international community?

A report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, analyzes current trends and paints five possible scenarios: 

  • Health systems focus on prevention and primary care instead of treatment.

  • Decisions about health care are made at the local level, rather than by central governments.

  • Wider use of new technologies to deliver health care advice and treatment.

  • Universal health care coverage.

  • Less support from the international community, which could boost local industry in larger countries but prove disruptive for smaller nations.

But the report clarifies: It is unlikely for any these scenarios to materialize by 2022. A more realistic expectation is that elements of all five “will be present in Africa’s health care landscape, to varying degrees, over the next decade” if obstacles such as poor domestic spending on health, inequalities and aid dependence were addressed.

The report does encourage African governments to work toward achieving these scenarios by implementing high-level reforms, such as channeling more funds to prevention initiatives, empowering local communities, tightening controls of medicines and other medical supplies, developing local industries, and expanding health care insurance coverage to include the region’s poorest people.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.