President Lazarus Chakwera has said public health is the bedrock of economics.
He was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a session on Investing in Health Equity.
According to Chakwera, many people used to believe, in the conventional thinking of the pre-Covid world, that what makes a nation’s economy thrive is economic activity, the making of things of value to be sold and bought at a profit and, in turn, the making of profits to be invested in the creation and expansion of industry across multiple sectors.
The Malawi leader said the Covid pandemic has completely debunked that assumption, adding that the world is now painfully aware that if the health of any nation’s citizens cannot be guaranteed, it threatens the very foundations of the economy.
“For this reason, the only way to safeguard the global economy from the kind of health-related disruptions we have experienced in the past two years is to ensure that there is equitable healthcare across the globe.
“In practice, this means investing in filling health systems gaps and inequities that the pandemic has exposed in developing nations like Malawi…,” he said.
Chakwera said countries can address the problem through the Global Fund, whose seventh replenishment he is championing.
According to Chakwera, investments in health systems by the Global Fund have given local health facilities the capacity to save millions of lives from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids.
“My appeal to all of you is to make sure that initiatives like this, that are aimed at investing in health systems, do not lose their place on your list of priorities. The loss of investments in health is not merely a fear, but a reality that critical players like the Global Fund are having to contend with as contributing nations are re-assigning their resources to emerging geopolitical emergencies like the war in Eastern Europe.
“However, if the experience we have all had with Covid in the past two years is anything to go by, this is not a gamble we can afford. We must deal with security emergencies without compromising investments in public health. The future of our economies depends on it,” Chakwera said.
The Global Fund is a proven investment model and has demonstrated extraordinary impact as a public-private partnership, saving 44 million lives since 2002. The private sector has contributed $3.9 billion to date to expand access to innovative solutions, which have helped change the trajectory of HIV, TB and malaria.
United States of America president Joe Biden will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment conference later this year.
The Global Fund’s target is to raise at least $18 billion to fight for what counts –cut the death rate from HIV, TB and malaria by 64 percent by 2026, save 20 million lives, and strengthen systems for health to build a healthier, more equitable world.
Ahead of the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference, the Global Fund and partners called on all players in the private sector – philanthropists, foundations, and corporations – for a step-change in their commitment to ending Aids, TB and malaria and building resilient health systems that contribute to a safer world.