In a recent interview with CNBC Africa, Dr. Ines Hassan, Director at the Global Health Security Consortium, discussed the importance of advancing health financing mechanisms for Africa. The Consortium, based at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, is focused on driving deliberate change to improve the continent’s readiness for pandemics.

According to Dr. Hassan, the Consortium was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the realization of the inequities in access to medicines that it exposed. The organization seeks to address these issues by promoting local manufacturing, increasing the number of healthcare workers, fostering innovation, and strengthening regional and global health security.

The Consortium’s primary focus is on what they call the “Always On Agenda.” This approach aims to improve health systems today while also preparing for future pandemics. By investing in specific parts of the health system that serve the prevention agenda, such as access to vaccinations and long-acting injectables for non-communicable diseases, countries can strengthen their overall health systems and be better prepared for future emergencies.

Dr. Hassan highlighted the importance of viewing health and the economy as interconnected. The Consortium believes that by investing in prevention measures now, countries can mitigate the economic impacts of future pandemics. They advocate for longer-term fiscal planning that takes into account the benefits of prevention measures, such as improved population health and workforce productivity.

While the Consortium’s focus is global, Dr. Hassan emphasized the importance of addressing these issues in Africa. The continent has faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and investing in health security is essential for national and global security. Viruses know no borders, and if one country is unprepared, it poses a risk to all.

The Consortium believes that Africa, like other regions, should prioritize prevention measures rather than waiting for a pandemic to strike before responding. This includes pathogen surveillance to identify circulating viruses, boosting clinical research capacity, and building strong health systems that can respond effectively to emergencies.

Advancing health financing mechanisms for Africa is crucial for the continent’s readiness for future pandemics. The Global Health Security Consortium, through its “Always On Agenda,” seeks to improve population health today and strengthen health systems for future emergencies. By investing in prevention measures and viewing health and the economy as interconnected, countries can mitigate the impact of pandemics and ensure national and global security.