The links between healthcare, individual well-being and economic development have been widely established. Health policy is key to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as set out in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). The plan notes that "A healthy population is necessary catalyst for economic and social development."
Some of the health challenges that the region faces include:
- How to reduce "the heavy burden of major diseases, particularly HIV and Aids, TB, malaria, cholera and cancer", as well as how to "strengthen mechanisms for addressing emerging communicable diseases such as SARS, Ebola".
- Challenges pertaining to "affordability, access to essential drugs, including antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and quality of health care and the need for the mobilisation of adequate resources and strengthening of key stakeholder for the provision of health care infrastructure, health services and the training of healh personnel".
Healthcare has therefore been identified as a priority for the governments of the Southern African Development Community, as can be deduced from the following principles contained in the Protocol on Health of SADC of 1999, noting that governments shall support activities:
- "Promoting, coordinating and supporting individual and collective efforts to State Parties to attain an acceptable standard of health for all their people"
- "Promoting healthcare through better access to health services"
The high priority that individuals place on health, and the impact that illness can have on the well-being and economic productivity of individuals and families has also been reflected in studies such as the MAP (Making Access Possible) diagnostics, done in partnership with FinMark Trust, UNCDF, and Cenfri. However, health costs are generally managed through expensive and inefficient use of credit, or depleting savings rather than prefunded mechanisms such as insurance. Understanding drivers for use and delivery of health finance mechanisms can inform private and public sector decision making to improve take-up of prefunded health mechanisms.
FinMark Trust would like to commission this project to learn from successes in health finance relevant to the region to improve the role that finance can play to achieve better health outcomes in SADC.