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Accordia Calls for Greater Investment to Build African Healthcare Leadership

June 18, 2009:  To improve health outcomes in Africa over the long term, the continent’s healthcare leadership must be strengthened and expanded at the individual, institutional, and network levels, Accordia Global Health Foundation’s new report concludes.

Building Healthcare Leadership in Africa: A Call to Action notes that it is time to move from emergency responses to the infectious disease crisis to investment in Africa’s long term capacity to address the health needs of its citizens. A key element in this capacity-building effort must be the development of a strong cadre of leaders and managers at all points along the healthcare continuum, and at all levels of responsibility. Although considerable progress has been made in improving Africa’s health outcomes in recent decades, there is still much to be done. The report explains:

“Africa’s healthcare structure and those who serve within it are faced with dynamic economic, policy, and political contexts as well as evolving forces of globalization that create a tremendously challenging environment. However, the opportunities also have never been greater. Leadership at all levels of the health system is required to scale up effective interventions, discontinue those that are not working, align global funding streams for sustainable impact, and motivate a health workforce that is faced each day with basic challenges and resource shortages.

“Success depends on adoption of a bold, sustained approach to improving health in Africa that includes an explicit emphasis on the development of leading individuals, institutions, and the networks that connect them, bringing together expertise from around the region and globe to drive fundamental change. This includes essential investment in leading African medical schools and regional Centers of Excellence that will build lasting institutional knowledge, as well as teach and nurture the next generation of health leaders.

The report is informed by the 2009 Infectious Diseases Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda in April, which brought together leading physicians, researchers, government officials, and non-profit organizations from around the world to discuss the need for healthcare leadership. The Summit produced a Call to Action that lays out roles for individuals, institutions, and the global community to play in advancing African healthcare leadership; it is included in the report.

Contributing authors to the report include Joseph Dwyer, Director of the Management and Leadership Program at Management Sciences for Health; Dr. Peter Ngatia, Director, Capacity Building for the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF); Dr. Nelson Sewankambo, Principal of Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda; Theresa Riddle, Managing Director, The Crossland Group, Ltd.; and Kelly Willis, Senior Vice President, Program Development, Accordia Global Health Foundation. Ambassador Mark Dybul, former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, authored the report’s foreword.

Building Healthcare Leadership in Africa: A Call to Action will be released at an event in Washington, D.C. at 3 p.m today. Electronic copies of the report are available at http://www.accordiafoundation.org/news-events/publications/reports/index.html

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Accordia Global Health Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) global health organization building Africa’s capacity to fight infectious disease through training, research, care and prevention. Accordia works in partnership with individuals, corporations, foundations, NGOs, and governments from Africa, Europe, and North America to achieve our vision of a healthier Africa. For more information please visit www.accordiafoundation.org.