Health workers in Ethiopia examining blood samples to test for diseases like malaria. (Photo: Amref Health Africa)
Following a highly competitive partner selection process, Amref Health Africa has been chosen to host the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC) — a new initiative aimed at strengthening strategic health purchasing in sub-Saharan Africa.
What is “strategic purchasing”? Strategic purchasing is a way to get more value for the money spent on buying health services, medicines and equipment and ensure that more people can equally benefit from quality health care. Strategic purchasing means that those who purchase health services and medicines actively consider and make transparent decisions about what the purchaser will buy, who will provide the services, and how these services and medicines will be purchased.
SPARC is designed to be a sustainable initiative housed within an existing African-based institution. The goal of SPARC is to connect and build on the breadth of existing expertise in strategic purchasing in sub-Saharan Africa, and deepen this expertise to offer context-specific partnerships to build strategic purchasing capacity in response to country demand. SPARC is being launched by Results for Development (R4D) in partnership with Amref Health Africa, and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center will only be successful if it has strong partnerships,” said Nathaniel Otoo, SPARC’s Africa director and a senior fellow at R4D. “That’s why we’re delighted to announce Amref Health Africa as SPARC’s institutional home. This partnership is an important step in building a vibrant network of institutions and individuals committed to improving strategic health purchasing to get better value for money in health systems across Africa.”
Through a rigorous six-month process of selection that considered a number of strong African institutions, Amref Health Africa was identified as the partner to host SPARC based on its institutional strength, ability to form strategic partnerships, geographic reach, deep roots in communities in Africa, and capacity to complement universal health coverage efforts in the region. Amref Health Africa, founded in Kenya in 1957, is a leading African-based international organization on the African continent with health-focused services and programs in 35 countries.
"Amref Health Africa is pleased to host the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center, and we look forward to connecting with partners as we start to work," said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa. "Improving strategic purchasing within health care throughout sub-Saharan Africa is vital if countries are to attain universal health coverage by 2030."
SPARC will benefit from Amref Health Africa’s reach across sub-Saharan Africa to foster strong partnerships across the continent to continue to build expertise on strategic purchasing and broker support based on country demand. Through these partnerships SPARC will help promote evidence-informed policymaking that leads to better health spending and facilitates learning and sharing of best practices in health purchasing.