Approximately 1.6 million Africans died of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-related illnesses in 2015. These diseases can be prevented or treated with timely access to appropriate and affordable medicines, vaccines and other health services. But less than 2% of drugs consumed in Africa are produced on the continent, meaning that many sick patients do not have access to locally produced drugs and may not afford to buy the imported ones.
Without access to medicines, Africans are susceptible to the three big killer diseases on the continent: malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Globally, 50% of children under five who die of pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The organisation defines having access to medicine as having medicines continuously available and affordable at health facilities that are within one hour’s walk of the population.