Disease is causing an “astounding” drain on Africa’s economy, costing the continent almost $2.4 trillion each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a report launched at the Africa Health Forum on Wednesday, the WHO said the continent’s economy will continue to suffer unless African governments ramp up spending on health.
In 2015, 630 million years of healthy life were lost in Africa through early death, disability and ill health, costing the economy trillions in terms of lost workforce productivity.
“I think the message is very simple: it’s wasteful not to invest in health,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, told The Telegraph. “Health is a good investment, and where countries are grappling with different strategies to grow GDP, it would be really unwise to ignore this fact.”
Dr Moeti added that it was “astounding” that Africa accounts for 40 per cent of the global loss of GDP due to workforce ill health. “This is something that we need to note with concern,” she said.