We live in a world where even a poverty-stricken Ghanaian child can dream of solving Africa’s health problems. I believe that everything begins with a vision for a better future and a passion for one’s continent and people, with perseverance, no obstacle cannot be overcome. Perseverance conquers all difficulties.
While an individual cannot provide a solution to all of Africa’s unmet health needs, any effort goes a long way. I was a Ghanaian child that dreamt of an Africa in which all citizens would have access to adequate and affordable healthcare.
Africa is the second most populous continent, and home to 16%of the world’s population. The continent receives just a mere 1% of global expenditure on healthcare, a fact which is not only morally reprehensible, but economically unsustainable for families and their entire countries, as evidenced by the high medical costs, often inaccurate diagnoses, medication errors, and inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities for those who cannot afford better.
How does Africa, with a public healthcare system that is largely under-resourced and underfunded, build healthier nations? I have a few ideas:
1. Africa’s healthcare gap is worse in low and middle-income countries where 10-15% of hospitalized patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to 5-7% in high-income countries. This is despite hospital-acquired infections being easily avoided through better hygiene, improved infection control practices and appropriate use of antimicrobials. Because of statistics such as these, I am committed to doing my part to bring quality healthcare to people in developing nations through my non-profit, R.E.S.T.O.R.E Worldwide Inc.
Through the R.E.S.T.O.R.E foundation, which is primarily focussed on reconstructive surgery, not only do I donate my surgical skills, but also my vast knowledge in regard to sustainable healthcare and capacity building within the industry.
Individual efforts to better a community ultimately culminate into a nation built by individuals and this is the Africa we want to see. This is not as difficult as we think to implement in practical ways, for example; if ones passion point is education, one can gather a few of the young people in the area and conduct lessons.
2. I am privileged, not only to be able to provide but also have access to quality healthcare. However, I realize that this is not universal. As I write this, my thoughts are with the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi who are affected by Cyclone Idai.
What the survivors of this tragedy have in common is their immediate need for resources, stability, comfort, and medical help, among many other things. As well all know, healthcare does not exist in a vacuum. Efforts also have to go towards improving education, skills, and resources, as well as creating strategic partnerships among key stakeholders.
Public-private partnerships exist in all forms to lend a hand to all kinds of causes. Neighborhoods and local governments could team up for a cleaning exercise, professional associations and governing bodies can also team up to help a cause of their own, either as a short or long-term endeavour.
An estimated 60% of healthcare financing in Africa comes from private sources which is a testament to the fact that public-private partnerships are a sustainable and feasible way to grow any sector.
3. Africa is confronted by a heavy burden of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV – not to mention the disease of “inadequate surgical providers”. Studies show a gross lack of knowledge about the basics of how to diagnose and manage common diseases
Africa is definitely ready for relevant, reliable healthcare dialogue. The top 30 innovators showcased at the recently concluded WHO Africa Health Forum in Cape Verde has given me and all other stakeholders immense hope. These 30 brilliant minds from across Africa and beyond have developed simple solutions to the complex and unmet health needs on the continent and these are the success stories that reinforce my belief in the future of a healthy Africa.
4. As healthcare stakeholders, it’s our responsibility to develop new medicines to treat disease, but these medicines are useless if they can’t get to the patients who need them the most. We need to commit ourselves to work together with all other healthcare players and to move away from simply donating aid, to building sustainable infrastructure and capacity.
To answer my opening question on how a public healthcare system that is largely so under-resourced and underfunded can build healthier nations; I say this is one way that a little boy from Ghana or any part of the poverty-stricken parts of the developing world can solve health problems in his or her community and ultimately build healthier nations across the globe. This can be done through identifying their passion point, doing all they can in their power, seeking out other like-minded stakeholders to partner with and working to create better paths for the generations to come.
-For more information visit: restoreworldwide.org
-Dr Michael K Obeng; Founder and CEO of RESTORE Worldwide, Inc. & Global Health Solution
Invest in Rwanda, A Country With Unconventional Vision And Leadership
Advertorial by Rwanda Development Board
Since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Rwanda has risen from $752million to $9.5 billion in 2018, and the GDP per capita has grown from $125.5 to $787 during the same period. Due to Rwanda’s internationally recognized universal access to healthcare policy called ‘Mutelle de Sante’ life expectancy has risen from 29 years in 1994 to 67 years in 2016. Inflation has fallen from 101% in 1995 to 1.1% in 2018 and Rwanda has jumped over 100 places in the World Bank Doing Business Index, today ranking 38th globally and 2nd in Africa.
Furthermore, with the 9 Year Basic Education policy, Rwanda has seen the average expected years of schooling rise from 6.2 years in 1995 to 11.2 years in 2017. These numbers, both the increases and decreases, are not merely statistics on paper, they reveal a people who have taken the reins of destiny into their own hands. Following the defeat of the genocidal forces by the Rwanda Patriotic Army rebels led by now president, Paul Kagame, many highly qualified development experts believed that the fabric of Rwandan society was irrevocably torn asunder. Over one million people had been killed in less than 100 days, over 3 million had fled the country to refugee camps in Tanzania, Burundi and the DRC (then Zaire), the national treasury was looted and there weren’t even pens and paper in government departments.
Speaking to members of the Australian chapter of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) in May last year President Kagame was asked this question, “experts say that a turnaround from a cataclysmic event such as genocide is supposed to take a century or at least a generation, how was Rwanda able to do so in only twenty years”? President Kagame mentioned the main aspects of the Rwandan turnaround; thinking big, having a vision, refusing to get stuck in the status quo, believing in, and having faith in the vision and, lastly, making sure that the journey is inclusive by bringing people in and creating possibilities for them to make their contribution.
Rwanda does not have the usual ingredients for economic transformation. It does not have a wealth of natural resources such as oil or diamonds, it is landlocked, it has one of the highest population densities in the world. However, Rwanda has a will to build a better, more prosperous nation.
What Rwanda did was put together a development plan called ‘Vision 2020’. This plan envisioned a Rwanda that was middle-income and knowledge-based. With a GDP growth rate which was dominated by double digits over the last 10 years, we are reaping the fruits of the ambitious plan.
One of the fruits is the emerging MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector. Who could have imagined that 25 years after the Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda would become home to one of the most iconic and most expensive buildings in Africa, the KCC (Kigali Convention Center)? The KCC, a venue that includes a five-star hotel and conference facilities that can host over 5,000 delegates, will this year host, among other world class events, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). To date, KCC has hosted the African Union Heads of State summit, the Transform Africa summit as well as a myriad of regional and international events and conferences.
The KCC has not been the only such ‘out of the box’ investment that the Government of Rwanda has made to create value where no one expected. A decade or so ago, the Government insisted on building the country’s very first five-star hotel, the present-day Kigali Serena hotel. Our development partners baulked at the investment, saying that there was no need for such a high-end facility. The Government, believing in its vision, went ahead and built the hotel thereby creating the anchor accommodation facility that opened Rwanda to the opportunity of becoming a regional destination for business travel and MICE. The country now has five 5-star hotels and more are opening up this year. Furthermore, high end accommodation establishments have opened their branches across different parts of Rwanda. To create the ecosystem that a vibrant MICE sector needed, the national carrier Rwandair was established, investments in skills and capacity building were made and the private sector was encouraged and supported to invest in the sector.
Because the Government refused to take a laissez-faire attitude to the development of the MICE and the overall tourism sector, investments that we have registered in the sector as the Rwanda Development Board have totaled $1.5 billion since the year 2000. Hotel rooms have increased from 623 in 2003 to 14, 866 in 2018, tourism revenues have jumped from $131 million in 2006 to over $300 million with MICE tourism revenue numbers growing from inconsequential numbers in 2000 to $55 million in 2018. We expect that all the numbers will grow by at least 10% per year and projections show that the tourism sector will be worth $800 million by the end of 2024.
This might seem ambitious, but we believe in our vision and we are actively working towards fulfilling it. That is why we partnered with different partners, including but not limited to Arsenal FC and Paris Saint Germain, English and French football teams respectively, to market Rwanda as a destination for tourism, MICE and investment. That is why Rwandair is increasing both its fleet as well as its destinations in Africa, North America, Europe and Asia and that is why we are currently building a new international airport in Bugesera, on the outskirts of Kigali, in partnership with Qatar. In addition, we have taken an active role in building an Africa that freely trades with itself through the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACTFA) and internally we have reformed both our business environment and visa regimes.
The business community has followed our lead. Last year, we registered over $2.4 billion in investments on the back of over 8% GDP growth. Leading global businesses such as Volkswagen, Motorola Solutions, Andela and Radisson today provide jobs to young Rwandans graduating from global institutions of learning that are based in Rwanda such as Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to the recent opening of the first smartphone factory by Mara Phones; companies including Volkswagen (in partnership with Siemens), Ampersand, and Safiride are also rolling out environment friendly transport solutions through electric vehicles and motorcycles on the street of Kigali and other parts of Rwanda.
When we tell businesses that Rwanda is the right place to invest in, we are confident that they will find the right environment to thrive. Why? Because we built that environment.
Mr. Zephanie Niyonkuru is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Rwanda Development Board. The Rwanda Development Board is a one stop shop for investors, bringing business registration, investment promotion, tourism, ICT development, SMEs, human capacity development, privatization and specialist agencies under one institution.
– Zephanie Niyonkuru
Africa’s Top Employers 2020
Top Employers Institute is the global HR authority on certifying excellence in employee conditions. For over 28 years, our firm has been dedicated to accelerating the impact of people strategies to enrich the world of work through certification, benchmarking, and connecting Top Employers around the world.
Through our HR Best Practices Survey, we enable organisations to assess and improve their workplace environment. Recognition through our programme helps companies become elevated as an employer of choice. We certify organisations worldwide. We recognise Top Employers based on a global four-stage programme governed by a strict standardised process. The leading-edge international research we conduct each year determines whether an organisation meets the required standard of excellence for Top Employer certification.
Africa’s Top Employers for 2020 were officially announced in November last year at the annual Top Employer’s Certification Dinner. A record 230 organisations officially registered to participate in the 2020 programme, 210 organisations spanning 32 African countries and 23 industry sectors were certified throughout the evening. 96 organisations will now carry the South African certification, while 114 Top Employers from 31 other African territories will carry their country specific certification. Top Employers Institute also recognised 17 continental Top Employers who have achieved certification in 4 or more countries.
Billy Elliott, Top Employers Institute Regional Manager: Africa, says that the certification provides employers with an important quality metric that enables them to position their brands more effectively in the attraction, retention, and engagement of top talent. “The Top Employers Institute is not just about certifying Africa’s Top Employers. We have seen a progression of HR in Africa over the last few years, and it is our role to empower and advance people strategies across the world. We are driven not just to certify but to benchmark and connect outstanding employers around the world,” he said.
These are organisations of the highest calibre, continuously working hard to create, implement and advance their people practices. This group of Top Employers provide an outstanding workplace experience, empower employees, and make the working world a greater place.
Read more about Africa’s 2020 Top Employers in the Forbes Africa supplement [HERE]
Have you got what it takes to be a Top Employer?
Visit www.top-employers.com/en-ZA/get-certified for more information.
BOSS X Meissen Capsule Collection Inspired by The Big Five
Johannesburg, 6 December 2019. BOSS celebrated its holiday capsule with an exclusive event on the 4th of December in Johannesburg.
Two internationally recognized German brands BOSS and Meissen came together for the first time. Inspired by Meissen’s celebrated Big Five figurines, a groundbreaking new collaboration united the two brands’ shared passions for quality, design and creativity.
The Big Five collection, designed by sculptor Maximilian Hagstotz, features the African lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, each decorated with a monochrome pattern placed to emphasize the animal’s characteristic traits.
These majestic creatures, depicted in an angular style inspired by traditional African wooden sculptures, are the starting point for a unique capsule collection of BOSS Menswear and Womenswear. The fashion capsule collection includes both casual and formal pieces for men and women, all in a monochrome palette of black and white.
To honor this special capsule and collaboration, BOSS and a local franchise partner SURTEE Group hosted an exclusive dinner just in time for the holiday season, with a special guest in attendance – the founder of Elephants for Africa organization Dr Kate Evans.
Guests, dressed in black and white, were greeted by a life-sized white Meissen elephant statue with elegant black and white canapés and black martinis awaiting them. The sophisticated evening had everything from the food, to the décor, drinks and dress code following the monochromatic theme. The charismatic Mark Bayley and former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss kept VIP guests entertained as co-hosts.
The evening culminated with a private performance by South Africa’s much loved Mi Casa.
Subscribe to Forbes
Yara Shahidi On Why Gen Z Shouldn’t Underestimate Their Power | Success With Moira Forbes | Forbes
Invest in Rwanda, A Country With Unconventional Vision And Leadership
Rivian: Tesla’s Newest Rival | Forbes
Where The Medium’s The Topic And The Topic is Topical
Get Set Mo!
Focus3 weeks ago
Djibouti: Strengthening Africa’s Passage To Prosperity
Billionaires2 weeks ago
Africa’s Richest 2020: Steady State With Some Volatility On The Margins
Brand Voice2 weeks ago
Invest in Rwanda, A Country With Unconventional Vision And Leadership
Featured4 weeks ago
The Top 5 Emerging Crazy Tech
Woman4 weeks ago
Female tech entrepreneur helps SMEs automate their human resources
Arts2 weeks ago
The Baskets Holding Them Together
Brand Voice3 weeks ago
Africa’s Top Employers 2020
Woman2 weeks ago
Africa’s Most Dynamic Thought-Leaders, Industry Game-Changers And Icons Of Social Activism Set To Feature At The Exclusive FORBES WOMAN AFRICA 2020 Leading Women Summit