PAHF’s focus is on sustainable projects that address the link between poverty and disease.
PAHF recognizes that Africa’s heavy disease burden is one of the most potent barriers to the continent’s social and economic development. Research confirms that widespread illness can significantly diminish agricultural and industrial production as well as undermine political and social stability, both locally and regionally.
PAHF’s first concern is for the suffering of the individual: the infant who dies of malaria, the AIDS-infected mother who struggles every day to feed her children, the people of all ages struck down by tuberculosis and other “diseases of poverty.”
Yet as PAHF puts in place solutions that benefit individuals and local communities, it benefits African nations and regions, too.
HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis together account for more than half of Africa’s disease burden.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health authorities have identified existing medical technologies to prevent or treat each of those diseases for less than $10 (AD syringes, the technology addressed by PAHF’s first project, cost only about 6¢ apiece).
Even at 6¢ apiece, the cost of life-saving medical technologies such as AD syringes can be too high for individuals and small clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is the poorest region on earth.
Tragically, such life-saving technologies are not widely enough employed — in part, because they are not widely enough available; and in part, because, whether $10 or 6¢, the cost can be too high for individuals and small clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is the poorest region on earth.
PAHF supports the establishment of medical-supply factories in Africa, because local production reduces the costs of the WHO-identified medical technologies and, at the same time, increases local availability of the supplies. By design, the PAHF-supported factories are to be technically efficacious and successfully deliverable; they will target diseases that impose a heavy burden on society; and the social benefits of the factories must exceed their costs. The principal benefits are twofold:
1. Disease reduction: Life-saving technologies will reach more of the people who urgently need them and, as a result, the incidence of disabling and fatal diseases will be reduced.
2. Poverty alleviation: The factories will create more jobs for Africans, increase the skilled African workforce, transfer technology to Africa and make good use of Africa’s natural resources. All of those activities translate into positive economic outcomes for the people of Africa.
Examples of PAHF-supported projects are:
AD syringe factory near Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Principal disease targets: HIV, hepatitis B and C, some of the viral hemorrhagic fevers (for example, Ebola and Lassa). The Port Harcourt factory is PAHF’s flagship project. The factory broke ground in November 2004 and its formal commissioning ceremony was held in late October 2008. Worker recruitment, training and trial production took place during the first half of 2009. Since then, the factory has been operating at full capacity. This first PAHF project has been successfully completed.
Condom factory, Nigeria. Principal disease targets: HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, which have taken a disproportionate toll on Sub-Saharan Africa compared to any other world region. A future project.
Facility to manufacture insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), Nigeria. Principal disease target: malaria, which affects 300 to 500 million people worldwide each year, 75 percent of whom are African children. A future project.
Although the PAHF AD syringe factory near Port Harcourt and the two projects planned for future implementation are to be in Nigeria, PAHF’s work will reach other countries as well. First, some of the output of the Nigerian factories will be exported regionally. Second, the PAHF-supported facilities in Nigeria are designed to serve as models for replication elsewhere in Africa, exemplifying public/private collaboration for the socioeconomic good.