Healthcare Reforms in African Nations
GDP is in US$ Billion
The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa was one of the deadliest epidemics which resulted to more than 11, 000 deaths. However, this is not the end of the story. As one of the poorest regions in the world, Africa is faced with numerous health problems and challenges. That is why healthcare reforms should be among the priorities of African nations. The following is a brief discussion of reforms in the heath sector of seven African countries.
Without a doubt, Kenya is striving to provide the proper health services to its citizens. Unfortunately, these reforms seem to fall short of the needs of impoverished Kenyans. It has feeble institutional and organizational capability. The government’s health policy agenda in 1994 concentrated on decentralizing support to district levels. This was meant to fortify the district as point for development and delivery of services especially in terms of funds transfer from the health ministry. However, problems came from mismanagement instead of insufficient resources. At this point, the government must address several problems like poor governance, lack of cooperation with stakeholders, and maintenance of credibility as guardians of citizens’ wellbeing.
There is practically no sound healthcare system in Sudan. Medical professionals are struggling to attend to the needs of the Sudanese people. Unfortunately, the organized logistics, processes and funding do not exist at all. In short, the government does not have any standard healthcare programs and operations. Services do not meet even hygienic standards. The few hospitals are characterized by a repelling urinary stink. Health spending is below the nine percent level that the World Health Organization prescribes. The very few local doctors and other medical professionals render services in urban areas where salaries are higher. The hospitals are often overcrowded. A health insurance program for medical bills of workers and their families was launched in 1996. Costs are shared by employers and workers. Yet, majority of the populace are not part of this scheme.
The medical sector in Libya is also very poor. Worse, it continues to decline. The degree of collapsing infrastructure of this country is very evident in its health system. Hospitals are not staffed adequately. Most of the structures have not been completed while medical equipment is obsolete. Surgical operations systems are not utilizes since there are no technical personnel who can operate the apparatus. Majority of Libyans who need treatment must travel to Egypt, Jordan or Tunisia. Local hospitals lack basic medicines and equipment. Unhygienic practices cause spread of diseases. Women run the risk of dying from child birth and pregnancy.
Ethiopia has made considerable health gains recently in terms of reduced infant mortality. However, more work is required particularly in rural areas. The government is embarking on a 20-year program for enhancing delivery of primary care services. Hence, the Federal Ministry of Health has sought the assistance of Harvard School of Public Health and Yale University’s Global Health Leadership Institute as well as funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Ethiopian government is working hard to help citizens gain more access to health care by employing and educating women as lead health workers. They train families in proper hygiene and other public health practices. Nurses provide complementary services in community clinics.
The three major reforms in the health system of Tunisia are primary health care, management of hospitals/health centers and medical insurance. Milestones in this sector contributed to the upgrading of global health indicators. However, some problems hampered health system functions. Global indicators concealed prominent regional differences highlighted by the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. Many citizens believe failures of the welfare system fueled discontent among the population which caused the revolution of January of 2011. The Health Ministry understands and advocates supports wide-ranging societal dialogues to provide solid foundation for sweeping reforms of the health system. There are three stages until 2015 composed of evaluation of situations along with regional and national assessment to develop consensus for healthcare reforms. This is backed up by the World Health Organization, European Union and Luxembourg Universal Health Coverage Partnership.
Tanzania’s health care programs are available depending on household income and accessibility. Urban area residents have more access to private and government medical facilities. Insurance was introduced recently while pension schemes have been around longer. However, limitations are extensive and not available to the needs of many Tanzanians. Financing of health care programs is the main component of the country’s health system.
Health care in Ghana is provided by government and managed by the Ghana Health Services and Ministry of Health. It has different levels of providers which are primary care (first level) for rural communities; health centers and small clinics; district hospitals; regional medical facilities; and, tertiary hospitals. Finances come from the national government, Internally Generated Funding, donor, financial loans, and the Christian Health Association (Ghana).
There are different scenarios in these African nations but the bottom line is improvement of services. Governments also have to ensure prompt delivery of healthcare to the populace.