Health systems as a neglected developmental pillar: the case of Ebola in West Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.M.Mathye, D.Sega, P.Sekhejane
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 8823

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At a macro-level there appears to be a shift taking place in health care in Africa and related outputs. Weak and burdened management of social services is unable to cope with the ever increasing human development challenges which unfortunately continue to linger on even today on the continent. As a developmental state-building pillar and human right, access to public health care remains widely limited, with many health systems still largely underdeveloped and suffering from 'brain drain' and the effects of dwindling education systems. Now more than ever it is crucial that African leadership give due consideration to the developmental rewards of an efficient and effective health care system something which has been largely neglected thus far. It comes as no surprise that Africa was unable to come forward as a primary respondent with an adequate response to the West African Ebola crisis of 2014. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a health care system as a collection of institutions, organisations and resources whose primary function is to improve health through responsiveness and financial fairness. A central requirement for such a system to operate well is that it should be highly interdependent, requiring intact stewardship in order for all actors concerned to benefit and progress.