Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 12, 2019 (ECA) – Chelsea and Ivory Coast football legend Didier Drogba on Tuesday said he will do all he can to support private sector participation in the continent’s health sector.
He was speaking at the Africa Business Health Forum for 2019 that was held in Addis Ababa to explore opportunities for catalysing economic growth on the continent through public-private partnerships (PPPs) to expand access to higher-quality health services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and knowhow from the private sector.
The legendary footballer, who through his foundation facilitates health and education access for vulnerable populations, spoke at the main forum and during an appearance with Halima Dangote, who was representing her father, business magnate Aliko Dangote.
He said public-private partnerships were crucial if the face of healthcare in Africa was to change, adding helping ordinary people get access to quality healthcare was a goal he will continue to pursue.
“Scoring the many goals at the champions’ league final cannot be compared to helping that one child get a better chance at life,” said Drogba.
He said after losing ex-team mate, Cheick Tiote, who played for the Ivory Coast and Newcastle United in the English Premier League, after a heart attack, he knew he had to do something to help ordinary Africans who have no access to quality health care.
Drogba said he had earlier lost a best friend’s nephew who loved and supported him as he started his footballing career, resulting in his decision to start his own health foundation.
“Healthcare is very important to me that is why I built a clinic in Abidjan with the goal of giving everyone access to healthcare,” he said, adding the health forum was an important platform for him to meet people and organizations who can support the work of his foundation.
For her part, Ms. Dangote praised her paternal grandmother for molding her and her siblings into caring individuals who want to help more people on the continent to have access to quality healthcare.
“From day one she has always been telling us about the importance of giving to others. The life lessons have been invaluable that is why today you see me supporting the cause for every African to have access to quality healthcare. We all have a part to play,” she said.
A joint initiative by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), GBCHealth and the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the health forum explored solutions to Africa’s health challenges with the objective of strengthening partnerships and facilitating private investments to change the face of healthcare in Africa.
ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, praised Drogba for showing up to support the need for more private sector participation in the continent’s health sector.
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