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» 30.11.2010 - Africa receives least health aid
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Health | Economy - Development | Society

Health continue to hinder Africa's progress

afrol News, 7 December - For the first time in history, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report that focused on challenges facing the health of 738 million Africans. The report touched on the health systems of the continent with regards to HIV/AIDS, malaria among other diseases.

Not all in the report is bad, as it recognises real health success stories of some countries in the continent.

Poor health, according to the report, traps people in the vicious circle of poverty, precariousness, impoverishment, numerous lost of lives and low productivity. It is on this basis that WHO asked its 46 member states in Africa to improve their economic development which guarantees better health for citizens.

Though grappling with high diseases and epidemics, most countries in Africa are yet to provide better health to their citizens. In fact, there is high attrition of health experts in Africa mainly because of poor salaries.

As a result of rampant contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS, which produce over three million victims every year, African countries have been forced to increase their health budgets over the years.

Precarious health systems and armed conflicts have also been blamed for retarding the health of many newly born babies and children in Africa. For instance, 17 percent of young girls and women between 15 and 24 in Zimbabwe are HIV positive.

Africa's giant economic power country endowed with quality health system, South Africa, has over 15 percent of its young women being infected by the global pandemic that is feeding on human beings.

Niger, however, appears to be doing well with less than 2 percent of 15 to 24 year-olds carrying the virus. Niger, which is Africa's poorest country, would not be able to tackle an AIDS epidemic in the same way as South Africa.

It is apparent that there are signs that Africans are finding African approaches to solving their health problems as evidenced in countries like Mali, Rwanda and Guinea-Bissau, the report noted.

In Mali, cost-sharing systems have enabled 35 of the 57 community health centres in the country to obtain skilled staff capable of carrying out emergency caesarean operations.

Rwanda's road accident prevention campaign has resulted in a reduction by one-quarter of the number of people killed in traffic accidents in a year.

And in Guinea-Bissau, the authorities decided to use "community radios" to convey health messages. With 66 percent of its population being illiterate, this is the only effective means of boosting awareness level among the people.

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