Despite accounting for only 15% of the global population, Africa has historically borne a disproportionate 25% share of the global disease burden, while only 2% of the world’s research output is generated locally, making Africa’s knowledge production proportionally slower paced than the significant healthcare challenges it faces.
Africa Health Conference content lead Cynthia Makarutse believes this manifests in a vicious cycle – a shortage of senior researchers and inadequate research infrastructures mean that junior researchers struggle to upskill, enter research progression pathways and find sustainable careers, thereby perpetuating the problem.
Coupled with this, a recent study shows that the standard of medical education in most universities in Africa has worsened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This potentially exacerbates a shortage of doctors and other healthcare workers (HCW) on a continent which must provide healthcare for about 1.4-billion people.
She believes one of the most important solutions to mitigating the HCW shortfall in Africa is to implement an urgent increase in training capacity at multiple levels. “Various studies reveal that complying with recommended target HCW ratios will result in improved patient outcomes and efficiencies in Africa’s health systems.”
“We have invited medical faculties from across Africa to submit cutting-edge research papers for consideration. A panel of experts will choose the best three, who will be invited to present these papers at our event in October.
Africa Health has provided a platform for health professionals to come together to conduct healthcare business in Africa. This year’s event sees a return to in-person symposia and will take place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg from October 26 to 28.