African leaders discuss healthcare innovation

KWA-ZULU NATAL – Representatives from over 20 African countries met for the Innovation Effect conference at the Durban International Convention Centre where they discussed health innovations and research in Africa, as well as how to address major health issues facing the continent.

Will Boase of PATH. (File photo)

Speakers from government and civil society organisations joined forces to address topics such as the need for  additional investment in science and technology, how to spur economic growth and reduce poverty and how best to work together and improve healthcare in Africa. 

Minister of Science and Technology Dr Naledi Pandor said South Africa has increased its investment in health research because this would deliver improved health outcomes, boost economic growth and create jobs.

Dr Greaig Frederichs, spokesman for international non-profit organisation PATH, said his organisation was part of the conference in order to promote some of their developmental programmes and developments they have made in the areas of vaccines and diagnostics.

Childbirth deaths

Adepeju Jaiyeoba, CEO of Mother’s Delivery Kit in Nigeria, said in her country many women preferred home births over going to a hospital due to their customs and traditional believe systems. This, unfortunately, was resulting in an unnecessarily high number of deaths during childbirth.

Dr Rosemary Mburu, executive director of WACI Health, said Africa was in danger of losing top health care workers as many were opting to work overseas.

“This is a big challenge that governments has to look at it seriously. We cannot afford to lose our best,” she said, explaining why investment was necessary to attract highly skilled practitioners.

High-level representatives from groups across Africa and the globe attended the event.

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