Strengthening Health Security and Resilience in Africa: The Continuing Critical Role of the Private Sector

On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) U.S. – Africa Health Security and Resilience Initiative (HSRI) held a virtual roundtable on “Strengthening Health Security and Resilience in Africa: The Continuing Critical Role of the Private Sector” in honor of the initiative’s first anniversary.  

Speakers included Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio, Chairman of CCA and Rabin Martin; Sally Ethelston, Director of Resource Mobilization and Outreach, Malaria Vaccines for PATH; Dr. Mohamed El Sahili, CEO of Medland Health Services; Dr. Anton Bizzell, CEO of The Bizzell Group; Ikechukwu Ofuani, Director of Worldwide Government Affairs and Policy, West Africa for Johnson & Johnson; Patrick van der Loo, Regional President of Africa Middle East for Pfizer; and Christopher Whifield, General Manager of Africa Region, Global Patient Solutions, for Gilead Sciences.

The virtual event marked the one-year anniversary of HSRI and brought together key U.S. and African business executives to highlight partnership opportunities, best practices and policies that support transformation in disease preparedness, universal health coverage, and trade and investment in Africa’s health systems through more focused private sector engagement.

Panelists focused on equitable vaccines and the need for readiness to receive and distribute on the continent, which will require the strengthening of supply chain capacity. The strengthening of supply chain capacity demands not just resilient infrastructure, but disease surveillance and strong private-public partnerships. Beyond just vaccines, panelists emphasized the importance of local partnerships in providing equitable access to all types of healthcare. Other essentials for implementation include collaboration with community health workers, strong country leadership, and trust in the system.

A major emphasis during the event was on how both the private and public sector need each other to ensure the deliverance of equitable healthcare. The private sector is able to invest in treatment and provide more structure based on demand. The public sector provides on the ground information and large amounts of data. By working together and using each other’s comparative advantage, public private partnerships can ensure equitable healthcare deliverance.

This event is part of CCA’s launched U.S.-Africa Health Security and Resilience Initiative (HSRI). HSRI works to convene key stakeholders to discuss strategic collaborations that support strengthening health systems for improved health security by leveraging the role of the private sector on the path to economic recovery on the continent. HSRI is generously sponsored by Pfizer and Gilead.