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Poor health systems and lack of infrastructure paralyses health care in AFRICA

31.12.2018
Article from AFRIC Editorial
For several years now, most countries have been battling with poor health systems which till today is posing enormous challenges to denizens. It is no news that almost all African head of States and administrative authorities will prefer to have their medical checkup out of their various countries. This primarily is as a result of the lack of adequate infrastructure and equipment as well inadequate medical personnel to cater for the population.

Africans are still to have full access to one of the most basic human necessities. While the relevant authorities are trying as much as they can to provide health services to their communities, these services are till date very limited to major towns and cities. People in distant areas have to move long distances to access proper health services which in most cases causes those who cannot afford the journey to give in to their conditions. Reports indicate that the percentage of people in Africa who die from transmissible disease is higher than those who die from chronic diseases.

MOST STATES LACKS UP TO DATE EQUIPMENT TO MEET HEALTH DEMANDS

The lack of modern tools and infrastructures and inadequate personnel are one of the major reasons why Africa suffers with a porous health care system.

It has become a very common practice in African health facilities to refer patients to developed country where they can find complete access to sophisticated tools and top notch technology required for treatment. Most hospitals still make use and rely on traditional equipment which sometimes are not very effective. Some private clinics have been properly equipped with first class materials and competent staff, but the challenge is the services they provide still remain highly accessible to the well to do people. Usually large sums are requested for initial deposits before treatment is commenced which a majority cannot afford. Sadly, this trend is infiltrating even into state hospitals where patients are refused to be attended to without prior payment. However, this has been blamed on lack of poor subsidy and support the sector receives. Authorities continue to lobby the international community as well as the WHO for funding so as to revamp the sector.

UNAVAILABILITY OF SUFFICIENT STAFF CRIPPLES THE SECTOR

If governments want to effectively manage health concern, they have to tackle low staff ratio vis a vis the population. Most nations still have a very low doctor to patient ratio and as a result, single health care specialist is entitles to thousands of patients which makes it impossible to attend to all. What makes matters worst is the fact that most state trained doctors never hesitate to leave to developed countries where their services are better rewarded and their working conditions better than what is provided in theirĀ  countries.

In Kenya, there is one doctor per 5,000 people, while South Africa records 1 per 1000 doctor to population ratio. The case is even worst in countries like Zimbabwe with a ratio of 1 doctor per 10,000 people. The inequities in workforce distribution is unfavourbale to the delivery of effective health care interventions to people especially those in remote rural areas.

In effect, Africa still has a major problem as far as health care is concern, as such the various governments have to put in place suitable policies and ensure accurate public health management so as to ensure that the residents benefit from the basic health amenities they need.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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