Cape Town, South Africa – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), one of the world’s leading healthcare technology providers, was present as a sponsor of Healthcare in Africa – a two day summit hosted by Economist Events. A progressive, collaborative debate on healthcare reform in Africa, the summit brought together more than 150 leaders from government, healthcare providers, suppliers, patient groups, donors and NGOs to explore key issues around funding, partnerships and access to healthcare on the continent.
Addressing a discussion on how Africa’s healthcare systems can accelerate progress in the fight against chronic disease, Mr. Jose Fernandes, District Manager, Philips Healthcare Southern Africa, commented that “the growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa will become the biggest killer and even outgrow current communicable diseases by 2030. A lot needs to come together to really improve healthcare outcomes on the continent.”
With the reality of healthcare moving up the agenda in Africa, many governments are trying to build better functioning health systems for their growing populations. The private sector has a key role to play as long term contributors in supporting this agenda – bringing relevant experience and capable solutions to these discussion forums. Aid organisations, too, are anxious to leverage the successes they have experienced in combating specific diseases in recent years by working more closely with national authorities.
“We need to move away from curative measures and more towards preventive measures when addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” Mr. Fernandes added, emphasizing the importance of deploying creative sustainable solutions in order to achieve this approach. “Philips is focusing on screening and detection as a primary area to tackle the burden of NCD’s throughout the continent.”
Mr. Fernades further highlighted that public spending is far too low on NCDs and still largely focused primarily on communicable diseases. He added that donor funding is still critical in Africa as are partnerships with local and international stakeholders to improve healthcare delivery in the areas of non-communicable diseases.
Marianne Mazou-Haddad, Conferences Director MEA Economist Events, emphasized the importance of empowering communities through high quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare.
With a strong healthcare network in Africa, Philips has turned its attention to women and launched the “Fabric of Africa” campaign aimed at addressing issues that plague women throughout the continent. From maternal and child health to non-communicable diseases, (including cardiac health, breast and cervical cancer) many African women are confronted with immense health challenges whilst faced with inadequate healthcare infrastructure and technology. “Fabric of Africa” is a collaborative campaign aimed at driving public-private partnerships and improving healthcare access across the continent.
“Education and skills development is an important way to intervene and help primary healthcare workers in Africa and Philips is committed to creating a training framework, to increase the output of trained and skilled healthcare professionals in the country. We are cognizant of the need to understand chronic diseases and how to address them in order to better manage them,” concluded Mr. Fernandes.