For the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be successfully implemented in Africa, countries in the continent need to address the underlying causes rather than the symptoms of key health challenges. This was the key takeout from the plenary on the status of the implementation of health-related SDGs yesterday.

In past decades, Africa has focused mainly on treatment rather than prevention. However, for sustainable health outcomes, the continent needs to shift its focus to prevention, particularly by addressing the root causes of health challenges.

Africa should focus on causes and not symptoms of health challenges to implement health-related SDGs

Africa should focus on causes and not symptoms of health challenges to implement health-related SDGs

Prevention not only focuses on health interventions, such as, training of medical personnel and health workers, but also socio-economic interventions. This
includes economically empowering communities so that they can afford health care. It also includes tapping into natural resources.

“The focus is now on the great need to unlock resources. An example is Turkana (Kenya), which has great untapped water resources. The emphasis in such areas should be on how to tap this resource instead of depending on knee-jerk mitigations which are not sustainable,” said Dr Marc-Alain Widdowson, Director of the Division of Global Health Protection during the panel discussion.

The key note address at the SDG plenary was delivered by Mr Arif Neky, Advisor for UN Strategic Partnerships and Coordinator of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. Other panelists present included: H E Toyin Saraki, Founder- President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

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