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May 29, 2024
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Elumelu Calls for Investment in Healthcare Innovation

Chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu has called for increased focus on capital allocation and investment in innovation to drive improvement in global improvements.

Elumelu, who is also the Founder, Tony Elemelu Foundation, TEF, made this call yesterday while speaking at the Abu Dhabi Health Forum in the United Arab Emirates.

He said: “We the all, private and public sectors and the development world, need to prioritize appropriate capital allocation and investments in innovation relating to health research and health technology to drive global improvements in health outcomes.

“Across Africa, my foundation has funded 700 healthcare entrepreneurs, with a gender distribution ratio of 49% male to 51% female, but this is just a tip of the iceberg. These entrepreneurs have gone on to help communities and even their countries in advancing health care delivery in Africa,” he added.

Speaking on other measures needed to improve global healthcare, Elumelu said: “It is not just early-stage entrepreneurs and companies that make a difference. Big pharma also has a role to play here. To ensure a sustainable health future for all, there is a need to review the current patent system and effect reforms while still incentivizing innovation.

“There also needs to be incentives for big pharma to partner on R&D for diseases from lower income countries. Incentives for investing in R&D and manufacturing facilities for big pharma in developing countries is also important — so leveraging the global trade system is also an important element of global health equality.

“Even beyond pharma, the same steps should be taken to open up access to medical devices research and manufacturing, health care business model innovation, and so on.

“We need to work innovatively across social sectors to achieve results. A high percent of health care facilities in Africa do not have reliable power supply (I think it’s around 40%) — without power, the health outcomes will be low.

“During the COVID pandemic, this was a major problem as isolation wards had no power, it was also a challenge to store vaccines sent to the continent. The global renewable energy sector, both thermal and hydro energy sectors should step in to address this massive energy deficiency in Africa to realize health outcomes in Africa.”

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