To achieve universal health coverage by 2030 and to improve population health outcomes, African governments will need to not only prioritise investment in public healthcare but will crucially also need to be in receipt of high levels of public support. Evidence from a Pan-African opinion survey, however, shows that less than a quarter of the general population of Africa believe that healthcare should be their governments’ first investment priority. Employing a logistic regression model on the latest Afrobarometer survey data covering the period of 2014 to 2016, this paper examines to what extent individual and country-level sociodemographic characteristics influence public opinion on the question of healthcare being their government’s first investment priority. The focus of the paper lies in SADC and EAC member states. The analysis shows that several individual-level factors and the life expectancy within these countries significantly influence public opinion. The results of this paper have significant policy implications for the countries that comprise both the SADC and EAC. From a policy perspective, it is imperative that policy-makers consider prioritising public preferences as intrinsic factors within the government’s policy priority-setting processes. Incorporating citizens’ opinions into policy-making processes is fundamental to adherence to the resulting policies, because as key stakeholders on the ground, public views represent those of society as a whole.