FutureProofing Healthcare initiative launches Index to measure Health System Sustainability

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021 / 03:00 PM / By FutureProofing / Header Image Credit: FutureProofing 

 

  • The Index aims to enable data-driven decision making for health and reveals correlations between economic strength and health system sustainability.
  • Findings show that countries with good access to services do not always have similar scores for quality of the health services provided, suggesting holistic policies that prioritize access and quality are needed to meaningfully impact Universal Health Coverage goals
  • The Index scores reveal an opportunity to advance Innovation across the Continent, the area where Africa has the lowest mean score, by pursuing policies that advance uptake of novel technology.

 

Today, the FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, an initiative designed to enable data-driven dialogue about the future of healthcare, launched the Africa Sustainability Index at the 2021 Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC). Led by a panel of 10 independent African healthcare experts, the first-of-its-kind, data-driven policy tool measures the current status of health systems in 18 countries across Africa and provides valuable context as countries across the continent determine how to accelerate universal health coverage (UHC) goals and progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data can be explored online at www.futureproofinghealthcare.com.

 

The FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index presents an objective view of how health systems are currently performing and is intended to inform policies that promote sustainability and resiliency for the future. Through publicly available data, the Index examines 76 different measures split across six categories called Vital Signs. These Vital Signs - Access, Financing, Innovation, Quality, Health Status and Wider Factors of Health - provide a holistic view of the fundamental drivers of sustainable healthcare systems. The Index also compares approaches between countries, identifies elements that lead to more sustainable care and promotes best practices through a future-focused analysis of real-world solutions. Supported by Roche, experts from organisations including Amref, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme /(UNDP), the African Society for Laboratory Medicine and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated to develop the FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index.

 

"Sustainable healthcare is a key element on the journey towards UHC and will impact millions of lives in Africa," said Githinji Gitahi, CEO of Amref and Africa Sustainability Index panellist. "The Sustainability Index is a useful tool in guiding stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem on where to focus efforts, make improvements and identify best practices from other countries. On behalf of my fellow panel members, it is our intention that this tool will spark conversation about actions that are needed today to create more resilient, sustainable health systems in the future."

 

The findings of the Africa Sustainability Index indicate that economic strength and political stability are key drivers behind overall performance in healthcare sustainability, with most of the countries that perform well in the Financing Vital Sign also doing well in the Index overall. These countries include South Africa, Rwanda, Algeria and Ghana.

 

The Index also reveals that all countries analysed have numerous areas of opportunity for improvement. There are strong variations throughout the continent related to the Access and Quality Vital Signs, suggesting that targeted policies in these areas will make an impact in achieving UHC goals. Driving disparities in Access are the number of doctors and specialised healthcare professionals per capita, as well as the level of access to preventative health services. South Africa is the highest ranking country in the Access Vital Sign, followed at some distance by Libya, Zambia, and Tunisia.

 

Another area of focus for improvement is within the Innovation Vital Sign, which has the lowest mean score of the six Vital Signs. Innovation was defined by the panel as 'advancement, access and application of novel technology.' South Africa is the top performing African nation in this Vital Sign, followed at some distance by Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Still, many best practices exist at the country-level, such as creating a future-looking policy and legal environments and adopting new technologies.

 

 

Country

ZA

TN

MA

DZ

GH

RW

KE

LY

TZ

ZM

ET

CI

MZ

NG

CV

AO

SD

CD

Index Rank

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Index Score

63

58

55

52

52

51

50

50

48

48

45

43

42

41

40

39

38

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Access

63

40

36

35

34

27

35

46

27

41

23

24

31

31

35

22

16

21

Financing

60

48

41

50

50

53

49

48

48

43

46

40

39

36

29

44

28

31

Innovation

58

39

33

27

36

46

31

16

42

36

42

33

32

38

27

37

27

30

Quality

84

61

71

53

59

63

64

53

67

65

48

60

61

42

46

30

52

43

Health Status

49

80

79

84

66

65

66

80

61

56

70

49

51

50

57

60

68

52

Wider Factors

67

78

70

66

65

54

56

57

47

48

40

52

35

48

47

40

37

22

 

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As health systems across Africa currently face acute pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Africa Sustainability Index aims to identify key drivers that affect the capacity of health systems to cope with system-level strain. Data from the Index can be used  to inform policies that help health systems continue to manage and ultimately recover from the crisis as well as be used as the foundation for policies that enable more resilient health systems that are prepared to address both health crises and ongoing population health needs.

 

The results of the Financing Vital Sign suggest that there is little difference between some countries’ healthcare financing models. However, this similar approach does not yield similar results across all Vital Signs. While there is a clear positive correlation between economic strength, political stability and the sustainability of a healthcare system, there are strong variations in Access and Quality Vital which suggests that, beyond financial reforms, targeted policies in these areas could go a long way in achieving UHC.

 

Prof. Glenda Gray, President and CEO, South African Medical Research Council, and member of the Expert Panel, added, "Unless we analyse the consequences of the COVID crisis, it has the potential to increase healthcare inequity, costs and inefficiency. Yet, if harnessed, it can mean better healthcare for all in more sustainable and resilient health systems. There are actions that every country can take to start on this journey today. We must work together immediately to rebuild better and give African people the care that they deserve."

 

Countries included in the Index are Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia.

 

The Africa Sustainability Index is now available on FutureProofingHealthcare.com.

 

 

About the Africa Sustainability Index

The Africa Sustainability Index is a first-of-its-kind, online policy tool that provides a unique overview of the current status of 18 health systems across Africa, at a time when healthcare systems are under increasing pressure as life expectancy improves, the demand for healthcare services increases, and the rise in noncommunicable diseases doubles the burden already in place from communicable diseases. The Index made up of 77 different measures split across six categories called Vital Signs. These measures were identified by experts from health systems, international organisations, think tanks and academia from across Africa. The information is based on robust, credible, third-party data and was built in collaboration with and validated by an external panel of leading healthcare experts spanning health systems, policy, patient organisations, think tanks, and academia from across the continent. The Index aims to equip policymakers with data that can guide and inform the direction and prioritisation of efforts to improve health system resiliency. It offers specific, tailored insights and best practice to drive these conversations and underpin future action. The Index along with information on the expert panel and methodology is available at futureproofinghealthcare.com.

 

The Africa Sustainability Index is made up of 76 different measures split across six categories called Vital Signs. These Vital Signs include:

  • Access: Equitable access to and coverage of healthcare to those that need it
  • Financing: Funding levels that are adequate and sustainable
  • Innovation: Advancement, access and application of novel technology
  • Quality: Offering uninterrupted quality-assured services
  • Health Status: The overall health of a population
  • Wider factors: External factors such as social, economic and political determinants that impact health outcomes.


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