Local grassroots healthcare organizations are a critical link between communities and the primary-healthcare system in Africa. There are more than 1 million Community Health Workers across sub-Saharan Africa alone, all working to reduce barriers to healthcare. They provide low-cost healthcare solutions and public health awareness to their community
Africa carries much of the world’s disease burden, but has minimal access to resources. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, “The developing world carries 90% of the disease burden, yet poorer countries have access to only 10% of the resources that go to health.” Furthermore, according to the Foundation Center, only 1.1% of international giving is given to local organizations.
Besides a lack of funding, a lack of power is also in play. This March, the UNA-NCA African Affairs Committee hosted a virtual panel discussion that discussed the importance of economic investment and unique collaborations within African health care. Panelist Dr. Yolanda Ogbolu, the Chair of the Partnerships, Professional Education and Practice Department and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Nursing (UMSON) and School of Medicine, noted, “People and countries are really cracking because they’re focusing under the assumption that money is the most important thing, but power is the real protagonist of the story: power of the few, powerlessness of many, collective power of those fighting for change.” Marginalized communities need to be able to express their needs. They need to be listened to.” Afterall, they are a trusted partner to those who live in the community.
What can be done to shift the power to African grassroots health organizations? How can the diaspora invest in African grassroots health organizations? What is needed for these local health organizations to access more international giving?
Executive Director, Tiba Foundation (Moderator)
Founder and CEO, Matibabu Foundation Kenya (MFK)
Chair of Board of Directors, Health Builders
Head, Global Health Partnerships, Novartis Global Health