Nairobi – 23 August 2016
ONE launches 2016 Africa DATA Report: African governments will miss health development goals unless spending prioritises the poorest, most vulnerable groups.
- Investments in the health sector by sub-Saharan African governments have seen significant improvements in life expectancy and general overall health.
- Africa’s poorest 20% face the worst health outcomes as governments continue to under-invest in the health sector.
- At current public health investment levels, sub-Saharan Africa will not meet key health SDG targets by 2030.
Investments in the health sector by sub-Saharan African governments have seen significant improvements in life expectancy and general overall health, according to the ONE Campaign’s Africa DATA Report launched today. The bad news is that the region is lagging furthest behind on health-related sustainable development goals.
The report titled “Health Financing, Outcomes, and Inequality in sub-Saharan Africa” cautions that governments must ensure investments in health reach the poorest and most vulnerable groups and proposes innovative uses of technology and social protection programmes.
The report shows sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of child mortality, and faces the highest risk of malaria, accounting for roughly 90% of cases and deaths globally. Income inequality has also had a substantial effect in the region as progress in health outcomes in key areas has been faster for the wealthy compared to the poor.
In the 15 years since the Abuja Declaration, in which African governments committed to spend 15% of their budgets towards health, less than half of these African countries have met this target in any given year. On average, between 2012 and 2014, only Malawi, Swaziland, and Ethiopia met this target.
Crucially, investing in health has been shown to save lives and grow the economy. A study found that for every 10% increase in government health expenditure per capita, there has been a 25% reduction in under-five mortality and a 21% reduction in infant mortality. A 2013 study found that, between 2000 and 2011, upwards of 5.7% of GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa was attributable to improved health.
Also, a recent 2016 study showed that for every US dollar invested in immunising children in low and middle-income countries, $16 is expected to be saved in healthcare costs in the future.
ONE is calling on sub-Saharan African governments to:
- Ensure that the poorest 20% of the population are prioritised in health interventions;
- Introduce and scale up social protection programmes that benefit the poorest and most vulnerable, such as child care grants and cash-transfers;
- Utilise information and communications technology (ICT) and management information systems (MIS) to reach the poorest and most vulnerable, and to improve access to health services and service delivery;
- Make their budgets transparent and procurement processes open to close out opportunities for corruption; and
Invest in health data collection and systems so that outcomes can be monitored and evaluated.
Notes to editors
- The full report is available at www.one.org/africadatareport
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of child mortality, with one out of every 12 children dying before their fifth birthday.
- Between 2012–14, 32 countries in the region spent less than the recommended $86 per capita on essential health services, while just 11 countries that spent more than the recommended amount.
- If every country spending below $86 per capita on health was able to meet this target, the additional funds could pay for 545 million additional antiretroviral treatments, 5.4 billion insecticide-treated bed nets to protect people from malaria or 2.6 billion vaccinations to protect children.
ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.