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Burundi: African Development Bank presents health infrastructure strategy for Africa

The Burundian Minister of Public Health and AIDS Prevention and the African Development Bank's (www.AfDB.org) office in Burundi met in Bujumbura on 27 October with managers of health infrastructure and sectoral partners in the country to work on the Bank Group's Strategy for Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa 2020-2030.

"The African Development Bank Group's Strategy for Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa 2020-2030 aims to develop the infrastructure needed for high-quality care for people in Africa, thus limiting the need for medical evacuations. This strategy is one of the knowledge products that the Bank has developed based on the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic," explained Jean-Claude Nsabimana, a specialist in the social sector at the Bank's Country Office in Burundi.

The pandemic showed that investments in high-quality infrastructure in African countries, including Burundi, were still not enough to fill the gaps and build robust, high-performance health systems, continued Mr Nsabimana. The budgets allocated to the health sector fall short of covering the massive investments needed to develop pharmaceutical infrastructure, manufacture vaccines, and diagnose and treat diseases on the continent, he said.

"The pandemic, exactly like other diseases that countries have faced in recent years, revealed serious gaps in national health systems and appropriate infrastructure throughout Africa. In its strategy, the Bank considers that the resilience of the African health system is dependent on a number of priorities, including building high-quality infrastructure, developing a robust pharmaceutical industry and specific capacity-building in the vaccines industry," he stated.

Peter Ogwang, lead health analyst at the African Development Bank's regional office for East Africa, commented on the four categories of health infrastructure that would leverage the Bank's comparative advantage. These are primary health care facilities, secondary and tertiary health care centres, diagnostic infrastructure and connectivity for innovative health solutions.

The sector experts praised the development of the Bank's health strategy, since up to this point, its investments in Burundi had been focused on energy and transport infrastructure. The experts advocated for the Bank's interventions to cover human capital, the pharmaceutical industry, traditional medicine and essential medical equipment as well. They also raised the brain-drain phenomenon affecting doctors in Burundi.

"It is your role to share your proposals for priority projects with the government so that they can be consolidated in the Country Strategy Paper," commented Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, head of the Education and Skills Development Division for the East Africa region at the Bank.

Olivier Nijimbere, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, representing the minister, said he was aware of the challenges affecting the health sector in Burundi. He emphasized that the government's vision of an "emerging Burundi by 2040 and a developed nation by 2060" included health, particularly access to high-quality care, as one of its priorities.

The discussion session was attended by the heads of academic educational institutions, such as the deans of medical schools, university rectors, hospital, public and private-sector clinics, representatives of health professionals associations, and technical and financial partners in the health field, as well as executives from the Ministry of Health.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media contact:
Alexis Adélé
Communication and External Relations Department

About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is the premier multilateral financing institution dedicated to Africa's development. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NSF). The AfDB has a field presence in 41 African countries, with an external office in Japan, and contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org

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