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Viewpoint: Universal health care in Africa is essential for real development


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The conference in South Africa raises questions about whether the approach should be private or state

Many news stories about members of the African Union (AU) focus on the outbreak of infectious diseases that are a direct result of the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism, where health institutions deliberately remained underdeveloped.

A recent conference in the South African Republic has considered the potential for building a universal system for the provision of medical care in the most indigent country on the continent.

19-20. In October, President Ciril Ramaphos convened a gathering that gathered over 600 medical professionals. The aim is to improve the services provided to the population of the country in which poverty and unemployment remain a serious obstacle for almost a quarter of a century after the deadly outcome of racist apartheid. (https: //

After the Universal Health Care Summit (UHC), the South African government approved recommendations from a conference on the drafting of the National Health Insurance Law (NHI) that will be discussed within the National Assembly. Such a breakthrough in South Africa could bring a plan for the member states of the AU as a whole.

South Africa is currently undergoing a "technical recession," which is shown by stagnant wages, unemployment hits record levels, along with instability in the financial sector. These problems constitute the imperative of changing the health care system more urgent, although they represent deep challenges for the state.

There are private and public health institutions within the country. Those who are richer in the middle, upper and middle and ruling classes rely heavily on private doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Statistics published in 2012 showed that most of the cost of health care is provided by the National Treasury. This reality stems from the necessity that began in 1994 after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) assumed the power to transform the apartheid system in which 14 different bureaucracies were established that deal with people based on their racial and ethnic origin.

Consequently, such a system left most of the African and Black (Asian and mixed races) of the population groups in extreme shortcomings. The life expectancy rate was high with African people suffering from premature and unnecessary deaths.

Even today, those who can afford to use private health insurance plans. On the contrary, the low-wage working class, rural proletarians and people without jobs are dependent on the state to finance their health needs.

South Africa is not alone looking for more efficient and efficient healthcare delivery systems. The former Republic of Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikweta, has addressed this issue in the context of a wider global need for universal health insurance.

Kickwaters wrote in an editorial published on November 5 that: "For three years, the world leaders have been dedicated to one of the smallest goals ever set in global public health: to achieve overall health care by 2030. Realizing this goal will mean that every person in each community has access to accessible care, how to prevent them from being treated and treat them when they do it. "(https: // -jakaia-kikvete -2018-11)

The former leader continued to recognize: "The roles are simply too high to fail to fulfill this promise. We can not eradicate poverty, protect people from pandemics, improve gender equality, or achieve any of the other goals of sustainable development (SDG) 2030 without accelerating progress towards universal health insurance. "

Within this essay Kikveta emphasized the need to guarantee primary care. Providing primary care for all citizens and residents will deal with 80 percent of the problems potentially resulting from the absence of such services.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya is launching a pilot program to provide universal health coverage for 3.2 million people in four districts. Counties Kisumu, Nieri, Machakos and Isiolo are leading the country in contagious and contagious diseases.

Keniatta has agreed to the Youth Committee of UHC to continue drafting a Memorandum of Understanding between county administrations and the Ministry of Health. The program is part of a wider national plan to provide free health care to everyone who needs it in Kenya.

High-profile diseases such as Ebola, HIV / AIDS, cholera should be immediately addressed

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the recent epidemic of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) has presented another important health challenge for this already troubled country. EVD was first documented in the DRC in the mid-seventies. Repeated pandemics have occurred over the past four decades.

The worst EVD pandemic occurred in West African countries in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the period 2014-2015. Years, when tens of thousands of ill, and more than 11 000 died. The degree of West Africa has spurred international interventions by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Army, and hundreds of health workers from the Republic of Cuba.

An experimental vaccine was introduced in the DRC in an effort to maintain and stop the spread of the virulent son of this viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). As of August 1, there were 300 probable and actual cases of Ebola in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in the DRC. 186 people died with 151 confirmed and 35 probably.

As for other infectious diseases, HIV / AIDS has remained a serious problem in Africa for more than three decades. The vast majority of people who earn, live and die from HIV / AIDS are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Of the 34 million HIV positive people in the world, 69% are in Africa. It is estimated that 23.8 million people are infected with HIV on the continent. 91% of children living with HIV are in Africa who continue to endanger the well-being of several generations.

More than a million people die of AIDS in Africa a year out of a total of 1.7 million people who are suffering from illness worldwide. 59% of people infected with HIV in Africa are women.

Although many people are treating antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, it is estimated that only half of these HIV-positive people have access to drugs in Africa. As a direct result of the neocononial system that fosters contraction and the lack of adequate HIV / AIDS treatment, the average lifespan in Africa is 54.4 years. Research studies suggest that due to the HIV / AIDS mortality rate in some countries on the continent, the average life expectancy is up to 49 years. (https: //

Cholera is another disease that has had a devastating effect in some African countries. Damage is caused by the consumption of contaminated water. Recently, in the South African country of Zimbabwe, a cholera epidemic has erupted that requires the announcement of a health crisis.

In a report released in October, the WHO said: "The Harvest Balance Balance was declared by the Ministry of Health and Child Protection (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe on September 6, 2018 and the VHO was notified on the same day. of cases, including 163 laboratory confirmed cases and 50 deaths (mortality rate: 0.6%) Of these 8535 cases, 98% (8341 cases) were reported from the densely populated city of Harare. The most prominent suburbs in Harar are Glen Viev and Budiriro Of the 8340 cases for which age is known, already (56%) is between 5 and 35. Male and female are equally affected by the outbreak. From 4 September to 3 October, most deaths were reported from health institutions. "(Http: // / csr / don / 05-october-2018-cholera-zimbabwe / en /)

Regardless, Zimbabwe is not the only country affected in 2018. In the West African nation of Niger there were 3,692 cases of cholera reported in July, resulting in 68 deaths. In August, Algeria reported an outbreak of cholera with at least two deaths. In other African countries where there were problems only Cameroon, Somalia, the DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania were only in 2018. (http: //

Ebola, HIV / AIDS and cholera are diseases that cause health warnings at the national and international levels. However, other chronic illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, kidney failure, cancer, malnutrition, alcoholism, drug addiction and diabetes serve to reduce the average life expectancy along with draining the production capacity of African societies.

Public sector access to the private sector

Providing this view of the health crisis in the AU Member States indicates the desperate need for the UHC system across the continent. Although there has been significant growth in different countries and regions of Africa over the past two decades, these levels of economic expansion can by no means be considered sustainable based on the continual dependence of the region on trade in energy products, strategic minerals and agricultural products.

In fact, the re-integration of the African debt over the past few years has been directly linked to a fall in global market prices, which are still dominated by Western imperialist countries. Moreover, the fragility of non-colonial countries in which they dominate are reflected in the often insecure social attitudes of health workers.

Leading African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria have experienced low salaries for nurses, doctors and medical researchers. Many of these health workers have engaged in a strike that requires regular payroll, higher salaries and improved employment conditions. Other professionals working in medical fields are recruited to work in the capitalist countries of Europe and North America, which additionally aggravates the ability of AU member states to address the monumental health problems on the continent.

As discussed at the beginning of this report, South Africa provides a clear example of the burden on the public sector in terms of providing medical services for the working class and the poor. Other governments in Africa are confronted with similar situations that require the strengthening of state structures. Privately for profit systems of health care can play a role as well. However, as illustrated in the United States, millions will go without health insurance if profits are allowed to determine how to administer the health care system.

The health care crisis in Africa is inextricably linked to the struggle against the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Any true development strategy can not be successful without maintaining a healthy and productive youth population, the workforce and the elderly sectors of the population.

Author: Abaiomi Azikive
Editor, Pan-African Nevs Vire
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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