New index measures health system sustainability to advance UHC

by Amref Health Africa

The FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, an initiative designed to enable data-driven dialogue about the future of healthcare, has launched the Africa Sustainability Index at the 2021 Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC).

The findings of the Africa Sustainability Index indicated that economic strength and political stability are key drivers behind overall performance in healthcare sustainability, with most of the countries that perform well in the Financing Vital Sign also doing well in the Index overall. These countries include South Africa, Rwanda, Algeria and Ghana.

The Index also reveals that all countries analysed have numerous areas of opportunity for improvement. There are strong variations throughout the continent related to the Access and Quality Vital Signs, suggesting that targeted policies in these areas will make an impact in achieving UHC goals. The Index also compares approaches between countries, identifies elements that lead to more sustainable care and promotes best practices through a futurefocused analysis of real-world solutions.

Supported by Roche, experts from organisations including Amref, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Society for Laboratory Medicine and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated to develop the FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index. Led by a panel of 10 independent African healthcare experts, the first-of-its-kind, data- driven policy tool measures the current status of health systems in 18 countries across Africa and provides valuable context as countries across the continent determine how to accelerate universal health coverage (UHC) goals and progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data can be explored online at

The FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index presents an objective view of how health systems are currently performing and is intended to inform policies that promote sustainability and resiliency for the future. Through publicly available data, the Index examines 76 different measures split across six categories called Vital Signs. These Vital Signs – Access, Financing, Innovation, Quality, Health Status and Wider Factors of Health – provide a holistic view of the fundamental drivers of sustainable healthcare systems.

“Sustainable healthcare is a key element on the journey towards UHC and will impact millions of lives in Africa,” said Githinji Gitahi, CEO of Amref and Africa Sustainability Index panellist. “The Sustainability Index is a useful tool in guiding stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem on where to focus efforts, make improvements and identify best practices from other countries. On behalf of my fellow panel members, it is our intention that this tool will spark conversation about actions that are needed today to create more resilient, sustainable health systems in the future.”

Article first published on

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