Creating a cleaner future with Access to Africa

  • 2018-04-13 12:00
  • Dr. Meshack Ndirangu
  • Blog English

When providing healthcare for Africa's most remote communities, access is everything. Discover how Amref works with organisations to bring better hygiene and sanitation to vulnerable people.

Improving healthcare in remote communities
Improving healthcare in Africa is a major challenge for everyone across the continent – and a large part of it involves providing every community with the services it needs. To offer some perspective on this, it's important to know that Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world's disease burden, yet only has 3% of the world's healthcare workers.

This shows just how critical access to healthcare and sanitation can be. And it shows how disease can flourish when that access isn't available. The situation is made all the worse by the fact that Africa faces more health events than any other region on Earth – more than 150 throughout 2016/17, including outbreaks of meningitis, Lassa fever and cholera.

To improve health in the region, we have to prioritise the provision of hygiene and healthcare services to everyone who needs them – especially those made more vulnerable by living in a remote community.

Pitching your product for a cleaner, healthy Africa – get access
We are always looking to find new healthcare solutions that meet the needs of African people. So, on Friday 18 May, we will be hosting a workshop for approximately ten participants as part of Interclean Amsterdam 2018.

Running from 11:30 to 12:30, the workshop will explain more about the Access to Africa Hub, and will be a forum for inviting pitches from organisations interested in bringing their healthcare solutions to the African market.

The pitches will take place in front of a jury featuring representatives from Amref Health Africa, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and RAI Amsterdam.

Are you interested in doing business in Africa? Why is your solution relevant for the African Market? Come to our workshop on 18 May - we'll tell you all about what Access to Africa is and what services are provided through this initiative. We look forward to hearing your pitch.

Creating local solutions to local problems
At Amref Health Africa, we're Africa’s leading health charity and one of the leading healthcare development agencies on the continent. Over the last 60 years, we have developed a vast network of connections – creating alliances and opening up access to communities across 35 countries.

An essential element of overcoming the healthcare challenge – and why we've been able to reach more than 30 million people – is the ability to work with local people to solve local problems. For example, we've helped to train half a million community health workers in how cleanliness can save lives.

This is a far more effective strategy than bringing temporary workers to the continent, because of the trust it allows us to build with communities. More than 90% of our employees are African, and this helps us to reach out to people and build bridges in areas that need greater access to hygiene and healthcare.

Driving mission success through innovation
Local presence is vital in improving access to healthcare across Africa, but that doesn't mean we close our eyes to developments elsewhere in the world. After all, innovation is another critical part of succeeding in sanitation and healthcare provision.

Back in 1957, we began as the Flying Doctors of East Africa, using aeroplanes to provide the most remote communities with healthcare. Ever since, we have adopted and used innovative tools and practices that make it easier to bridge the gap between health systems and people.

If there are better, easier, quicker and cheaper ways to deliver services and antibacterial products to those who need it, we are always looking to work with and support companies across the globe to achieve more. That's why we developed the Access to Africa Hub.

Working with organisations to provide access
The private sector develops solutions to worldwide health problems that could potentially contribute to better healthcare in Africa. And Access to Africa is a way to bring relevant healthcare solutions to the continent that would not otherwise have been available.

We can support non-African companies identify whether their solutions fulfil a need in Africa, whether (or how) they can be applied in local settings, and what the best strategy for taking it to market is. This includes to make sure that each solution is adaptable, available, affordable and accessible to even the most remote areas.

On top of this, we can support those organisations to make people across Africa aware of their treatments and the health benefits – giving them a better chance of being accepted and used.

This and more will be discussed during our seminar session on 18 May at Interclean Amsterdam 2018. We hope to see you there.

By Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, Country Director Amref Health Africa Kenya.

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