Opinion Pieces Discuss Report From Lancet Commission On The Future Of Health In Sub-Saharan Africa

The Conversation: Why the path to longer and healthier lives for all Africans is within reach
Alex Ezeh, executive director of the African Population and Health Research Center; Nelson Sewankambo, professor of internal medicine at Makerere University; and Peter Piot, director and Handa professor of global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…The Lancet Commission believes: ‘that by 2030 Africans should have the same opportunities for long and healthy lives that new technologies, well-functioning health systems, and good governance offer people living on other continents.’ To achieve this, the report offers 12 strategic directions that all sub-Saharan countries should consider in their policies and plans. These include the promotion of health, prevention of disease, and expansion of access to treatment and care. … [E]ach country must adapt these in line with its specific needs, resources, and culture. … The Commission report underscores the need for Africans to take the lead on the health, scientific, and development challenges in close collaboration with the global research community. … These measures, together, will represent ‘a serious shift in mindsets,’ which the commissioners argued is key to achieving meaningful and sustainable change in health in sub-Saharan Africa” (9/13).

The Lancet: Africa and health: a Commission to accelerate success
Richard Horton, editor in chief, and Selina Lo, senior editor, both at The Lancet

“…With the election of the first WHO director general from an African nation, together with a renewed health transformation plan designed by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, multilateral leadership for Africa has never been stronger. The Commission believes that the next decade is a crucial period for the continent. If the right policies are put in place, the trajectory for health and health care in African nations could reach a dramatic inflection point. The part played by the international community in supporting this African vision will be important, and possibly even decisive. But this Commission argues that only if Africans are empowered to lead Africa free from the bondage and neo-colonialism of western nations will these hopes be fully realized. We present this Commission in the belief that there has never been a better moment for African health leaders to guide their nations to unrivaled prosperity…” (9/13).

The Lancet: Longer and healthier lives for all Africans by 2030: perspectives and action of WHO AFRO
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa

“The Path to Longer and Healthier Lives for All Africans by 2030: the Lancet Commission on the Future of Health in sub-Saharan Africa is of great interest to the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO). This Commission by Irene Agyepong and colleagues expresses its conviction that a health system ensuring positive health outcomes for everyone, irrespective of socioeconomic class, gender, religion, or location, is possible and realizable in the African region, despite many challenges. … WHO AFRO will draw from the recommendations of the Lancet Commission that reinforce many of our priorities and ideas. We, like Agyepong and colleagues, are optimistic that our common vision will be realized” (9/13).

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