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Health Development in Africa Essay

Throughout the world there is a growing concern about health as it is regarded as an essential part of the sustainable human development efforts. The growing importance of the health of the population is being highlighted in the economic circles, the foreign policy and the socio cultural settings. During the last 25 years, there has been drastic realization about health issues in the developing nations, which has given them hope of a better future for their children.

Africa is one such region where poverty and hunger is widespread. This is the region where health care facilities are underdeveloped due to which many people face death. This paper, therefore, aims to devise and develop an essential health development policy, program and strategy for African region in order to eradicate the poverty. This forms the main thesis of the research paper (Mills, 1995).

The role of health development has been gaining importance in the Africa and different countries are assisting the efforts by providing increased resources, which has put huge pressures on the weak health structure, organizational capabilities and workforce in one of the poorest regions of the country. There is a severe lack of planning and management of the health resources in this part of the world which has led to non- implementation of the health plans.

The problem in the African region has been largely related to poverty, wars and conflicts, bad governance and non performance of health programs. This region also faces a huge virus of HIV and AIDS which increase the burden of disease (Loewenson, 1993). The domestic and international health polices for Africa have been drafted by international agreements of multiple countries which include Alma Ata Declaration of 1978, World Health Organization’s Bamako Initiative in 1987 and Paris Declaration of 2005, and including many more.

The famous Alma Ata, known as the birth of primary health care or PHC, aims to provide a comprehensive and affordable health plan by providing health facilities at the most basic level. However the PHC failed to achieve its targets due to lack of infrastructure and facilities, staff, civil wars, natural disasters and issues of bad governance and corruption. Later various new international policies were tried which included the structural adjustment plan of the World Bank which was based on loans, privatization and cost recovery, however it failed to deliver due to various reasons (Sikosana, 2009).

The Bamako Initiative was launched in 1987 which was aimed at access to quality health care and tackle the scarcity of medicine by a number of balanced policies which were implement able and are the perfect health development plan for the impoverished region of Africa. Together with the World Bank 1993 report, both the policies aim at providing the healthcare at the grass root level in order to eradicate poverty (Mills, 1995). The recommendations include improving primary healthcare at all the levels in an equitable manner which should be available to all the people at any income level.

Another recommendation includes the decentralization of the management of the PHC to the district level as oppose to the earlier practice which limited the control to few big hospitals which was the reason for corruption and bad governance. The government should ensure equity of fees charged at all levels which would ensure homogeneity of services to rich and poor alike. The government should be highly committed to maintain and expand the PHC program and all the national health policies should be inline to one standard policy.

The government should also closely monitor the whole policy implementation process and ensure services to the poor. Sustainable effort should also be made to for poverty alleviation through education, gender equity, improved mother and child health programs and AIDS control programs. For the African health problems, the policymakers should make integrated national plans and strengthen the health systems by empowerment, equity and sustainability of the efforts. The public private partnership is also essential for the sustainability of the strategy (Sikosana, 2009).


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