Afreximbank to Help Improve Health Facilities in Africa

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THE range of specialist healthcare services to be delivered through the Centre of Excellence Initiative being developed by the African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank will enable Africa stem the outflow of billions in scarce foreign exchange and improve life expectancy and the quality of the continent’s workforce, Benedict Oramah, bank president, said on Thursday, October 20, in Cairo.

Addressing participants at a workshop for prospective host countries of the centres of excellence, Oramah noted that currently, more than 300,000 Africans travelled annually to India alone for medical services, spending more than $2 billion each year.

That situation was attributable to a “lack of well-equipped and advanced medical facilities as well as practitioners across the continent, leading to millions of untimely deaths every year,” he said, adding that many of the existing medical facilities on the continent were not equipped to deal with the new kinds of ailments that were now prevalent due to changing lifestyles.

It was in response to that situation that Afreximbank launched a Health and Medical Tourism Programme, working with partners like Kings College Hospital (KCH), London, to foster the emergence of world class medical facilities and research centres across Africa.

The first area of healthcare specialism that that strategic business alliance with KCH would focus on was the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Cancer Patients, he stated.

He said that following a comprehensive review and macroeconomic analysis of the health sector and medical tourism in Africa, carried out by KCH, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana were identified as suitable to host the centre of excellence.

Also speaking, Ghulam Mufti, a non-executive director of the Board of Kings College Hospital, outlined the health challenges facing Africa and urged the participants to aim to leave the workshop energized to address them.

According to him, the participants should aim to come out with plans on how to deliver the centre of excellence in a timely manner.

Participating in the workshop were representatives of the ministries of health and key players in the healthcare sectors from Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana as well as officials from Afreximbank and KCH.

The workshop sought to clarify the thinking on the establishment of centre of excellence for cancer in Africa, identify the main issues to be resolved in developing a detailed proposal for the initiative and plan how to approach the scoping for the initiative as well as respond to a request for information which was shared with the prospective host countries.

—  Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT

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