Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 11 percent of the world’s population, yet bears 24 percent of the global disease burden and commands less than one percent of global health expenditure. It also faces a severe shortage of trained medical personnel, with just three percent of the world’s health workers deployed in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Health care in most of Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst in the world. Despite decades of foreign assistance, few countries in the region are able to spend even the $34–$40 per person per year that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers the minimum necessary to provide a population with basic health care. In spite of the billions of dollars of international aid dispensed, an astonishing 50 percent of Sub-Saharan
Africa’s total health expenditure is financed by out-of-pocket payments from its largely impoverished population. In addition, the region lacks the infrastructure, facilities, and trained personnel necessary to provide and deliver even minimal levels of health services and goods.
This report demonstrates that the private sector is currently playing, and will continue to play, a vital role in the financing and provision of health care in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that engaging the entrepreneurial talents of the private sector is essential in improving access to health care in the region. The report recognizes that harnessing the talents of the private sector will require new approaches to collaboration between public and private players, new approaches from donors and other stakeholders, and strategies that are tailored to local realities.