Well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Sub-Saharan Africa was facing significant hurdles on the way to ensuring universal access to quality and affordable healthcare, especially among women and girls. And progress made in recent years—towards equitable health outcomes and well-being, as well as public health security and resilience—has stalled, or in some cases evaporated, due to the pandemic and its many socio-political-economic impacts.
Both immediate needs and root causes need to be addressed, urgently. The various “building blocks” of health systems—service delivery, workforce, medicines and technologies, financing, governance, and information—need to be strengthened toward ensuring that national and local health systems are responsive, efficient, fair, high-quality, and resilient. Reducing maternal mortality, early childhood death, epidemic occurrence and pandemic risk, non-communicable disease mortality, and more will take concerted action from governments, clinics and hospitals, health workers and managers, market intermediaries, and others across each health system.
The Roddenberry Foundation—in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, Valerian Fund, and Vitol Foundation—has launched +1: Health to implement and promote a more inclusive, scalable, and collaborative approach towards ensuring lasting access to quality and affordable healthcare across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Leveraging the +1 Global Fund framework, we aim to:
Identify and support, financially and non-financially, locally-led organizations serving last-mile and vulnerable communities
Build a robust pipeline of diverse, “under-the-radar” organizations that can be supported by others
Collect data on individual, organizational, and network behavior to catalyze action and learning
Weave an ecosystem of funders, intermediaries, social entrepreneurs, grassroots organizations, and others addressing the lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare across Sub-Saharan Africa
The pandemic has shed light on the fragility of our most foundational systems, while highlighting the innovation and resilience of locally-led, community-based organizations. To improve upon and ultimately change our failing systems for the better, we must leverage this moment to support them in profoundly different ways. The +1: Health initiative is an ambitious, collective effort to catalyze this change.
+1: Health is supported by a unique collaboration of institutions working together to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (SDG 3).