From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Lack of quality healthcare, poverty and poor government policies have been identified as the reasons for worsening health indices in rural communities in Africa.
A charitable organization, Supportive Initiatives for Africa (SIA) which made the attribution lamented the increasing lack of access to quality healthcare for rural dwellers in Africa.
Consequently, the organization had initiated partnerships with governments which would include periodic visits of the officials and experts of the Austrian based organization to hospitals, rural communities, education awareness to countries in Africa as well as training for its medical experts among others, to improve the health of the people.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Enugu, Chairman of the organization, Mr. John Okaroh who was flanked by the Public Officer, John Gregory, disclosed that research conducted by the group indicated that rural dwellers in Africa suffer communicable and non-communicable diseases and that the level of health and healthcare access and service in Africa was below the global average.
Okaroh stressed that, “The aim of this partnership is to improve access to essential healthcare products and reduce shortages in communities in Africa to the barest minimum in the couple of years.”
Furthermore he said, “Africa lags behind in several health metrics, including health status, morbidity indicators, disability and nutritional indicators, as well as health system indicators and health factors. That is why SIA is collaborating with health and healthcare partners to enhance people’s lives in Africa.
“SIA primary concern is health. We also want to channel due attention and support to health improvement, poverty alleviation, social support, mental health services, disability support, infant and child mortality reduction, communicable and non-communicable disease prevention, health financing, health systems, and policy advice.”
Giving worrisome index from the research which necessitated the intervention Okaroh said, “African children under five dies every five seconds mostly due to lack of basic health needs, water, sanitation and hunger. Nearly half of all world children’s deaths occur in Africa.
“Africa is the 2nd most populated continent in the world with over 1.3 billion people; without access to essential medicines, Africans face the three big killer diseases of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. 50 per cent of all children under five who die of pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and other communicable diseases are in Africa. 60 per cent of all people living with HIV are in Africa. More than 90 per cent of all global malarial cases are in Africa. 19 out of 20 countries with the highest maternal death rates are in Africa.
“Africa has the highest neonatal deaths in the world. Only 58 per cent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to clean water supplies. 60 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa live below $1.90 a day. More than 150 million people live in extreme poverty in Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo alone. 27 of the world’s poorest countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. 70 per cent of the world’s poorest people live in Africa. Less than two per cent of drugs consumed in Africa are produced in the continent. This means that many sick patients do not have access to essential medicines.”
The SIA boss therefore said the collaboration and intervention would improve and promote the healthcare products’ availability among the various peoples of Africa irrespective of geographical locations.
“We want to improve access to health screening tools in order to reduce mortality and morbidity caused by both CD and NCDs in Africa. To help create awareness and sensitize African people on quality use of healthcare products and services through seminars, workshops, etc. tailored to specific local languages.”