NAIROBI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — The attainment of health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Africa is dependent on robust funding towards research and training of medics to help combat a rising disease burden, an expert said on Tuesday.
Bassirou Bonfoh, director of Afrique One-Aspire, a pan African scientific research entity, said that transformation of the health sector in the continent lies in targeted investments in research, technologies and human capital.
“Africa is still burdened and grappling with treatable and preventable diseases and the situation can be attributed to insufficient public sector funding in health research,” said Bonfoh in a commentary published by Kenya’s Daily Nation.
He noted that under-investment in health research is to blame for absence of essential drugs, vaccines and diagnostic equipment needed to combat infectious diseases in Africa.
Bonfoh urged African governments to prioritize funding towards medical research in line with a continental pact adopted by Heads of State and governments seventeen years ago.
“There is a consensus that funding of medical research should be a priority for all governments,” said Bonfoh, adding that African governments can borrow international best practices to revitalize bio-medical research against a backdrop of a spike in virulent infections caused by climatic shocks and interactions between animals and humans.
He noted that Afrique One-Aspire program that is funded by a consortium of donors has focused on strengthening home-grown research on zoonotic diseases that have created a public health crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This program has recruited more than 60 scientists from twelve East, Central and West Africa to conduct research on rabies, tuberculosis, brucellosis and other diseases,” said Bonfoh.
He said that building the capacity of African health researchers through training will elevate their standing at the global level.
Bonfoh stressed that Africa can leverage on its demographic dividend, disruptive technologies and local innovations to re-invent the health systems.