Accelerating Gender Parity in Africa by Focusing on Better Access to Healthcare for Women
Dr. Abofele Khoele, Managing Director Organon South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa and Kaushal Shah, Head of Health Strategy, AHB
In her essay entitled The art of the pivot: African women as critical problem solvers in the 21st century , published in Brookings’ Foresight Africa 2022, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President, Republic of Liberia, and Founder of The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Centre for Women and Development said, “It is not enough to recognise that African women and girls deserve rights by adopting new laws and frameworks; countries must ensure that these rights are a lived reality. Outside of ensuring legal protections and rights, we must invest in women and girls financially. When governments and international organisations provide targeted and sufficient funding, we ensure women and girls have access to quality education and training, feel economically empowered, and participate politically.”
Making sure African women’s voices are heard
The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), details how the continent still lags behind other regions on progress towards gender equality in society, in particularly when it comes to essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy.
Investing in essential healthcare services for women
Guttmacher.org states that “sexual and reproductive health services currently cost US$7.8 billion annually in Africa—or about US$6 per capita per year — includes programs and systems support and service delivery costs. Expanded contraceptive services help offset the cost of improving pregnancy-related and new-born care by reducing unintended pregnancies. Every US$1 spent on contraceptive services beyond what is currently spent would save US$2.77 in the cost of improved maternal, new-born and abortion care.” The impact of fully investing in essential services would be a reduction in unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and unsafe abortions which would each decline by 78%. Maternal deaths would decline by 64%. New-born deaths would decline by 71%. Cases of infertility caused by untreated STIs would be eliminated.
Partnerships will boost access to care
Organon is a global healthcare company formed through a spinoff from Merck (known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada) with a mission to deliver impactful medicines and solutions for a healthier every day. The company builds upon a strong foundation of more than 60 medicines and other products across a range of areas including reproductive health, heart disease, dermatology, allergies and asthma. The company has an international footprint that serves people in more than 140 markets.
Learn more at: https://www.organon.com/
About Africa Health Business
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About AHBS- Africa Women’s Health: The Role of the Private Sector in Advancing Women’s Health in Africa
AHB curated the Africa Health Business Symposium (AHBS) under the theme: The role of the private sector in advancing women’s health in Africa with the objective to prioritise, explore and strengthen the role of the private sector in advancing women’s health on the continent.
Learn more at: www.africahealthbusiness.com