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U of T and Mastercard Foundation advance health care in Africa

Wong added that AHEHC’s work is guided by the idea of co-creation – an approach that was evident at the October 2023 convening as the partners cemented the mutual relationships, laying the foundation for the widespread adoption of African-led solutions across the network.

Global reach, learning and impact

U of T’s participation in the AHEHC aligns with the university’s broader Africa strategy, which encompasses various initiatives from entrepreneurship exchanges to high-level summits involving representatives from universities, governments and various international development groups. It is guided by the President’s International Council on Engagement with Africa and is outlined in the university’s International Strategic Plan 2022-2027, focused on global reach, global learning and global impact.

“We aim to tap into the tremendous young talent and vast opportunities across the continent while addressing challenges facing Africa’s primary healthcare systems, including severe worker shortages,” said Penina Lam, U of T’s senior director of international relations, who is leading AHEHC’s implementation.

 AHEHC’s initial focus will be in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, aiming to strengthen health sectors. Through hands-on training in various disciplines, AHEHC seeks to prepare the next generation of health-care practitioners. The approach aims to enhance the delivery of high-quality primary care, stimulate economic growth and develop robust societies. This aligns with the Mastercard Foundation’s Health Strategy, which seeks to create three million dignified and fulfilling jobs in primary care, with an emphasis on employment opportunities for women and young people.

U of T and Mastercard Foundation advance health care in AfricaU of T and Mastercard Foundation advance health care in Africa
The 2023 Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, & Adaptation (MELA) co-creation workshop was held in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2023.

As the secretariat for the initiative, U of T plays a supportive role in co-ordinating collaborations and programs tailored to each partner’s local health priorities, needs, assets and expertise. This involves facilitating learning, development and implementation across the network, managed by a team in Canada and through three regional hubs in Africa.

For example, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s department of family and community medicine partnered with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Together, they co-delivered continuing education courses for primary care workers in critical areas such as palliative care. About 100 Ghanaian primary care professionals participated in the courses this fall.

A longstanding relationship with African institutions

This program is among many guided by AHEHC’s three pillars: health employment, focusing on workforce development; health entrepreneurship, which supports the creation of businesses that will produce health innovations and self-employment opportunities; and health ecosystems, which engages partners in government, corporations, non-profits and other institutions in the collective effort to transform the health sector.