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Achieving the Africa of my dreams: a healthy Africa
09. June 2018 at 21:49
Africa is a region with at least 738 million amazing individuals, reputed as the richest continent on earth in terms of available mineral resource, notorious for being the poorest continent with respect to human “Standard of Living” and “Health Indices”. Even World Health Organization acknowledges that “Africa currently confronts the world`s most dramatic public health crisis”.
Thambo Mbeki said, “as Africans, we need to share a common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent”. In all sincerity, we got a lot to do, except we would be living in denial. A healthy Africa is one we will be proud to call our own. In October 2014, the US sent experts to a West African nation to study how the latter overcame the Ebola crisis in a short time.

This shows how much faith the rest of the world got in our continent. It`s time to lead the way. Believe me, we can lead the world in Health Innovations, we can achieve a Healthy Africa; the Africa of Our Dreams if all hands will be on deck.

Africa is a region with at least 738 million amazing individuals, reputed as the richest continent on earth in terms of available mineral resource, notorious for being the poorest continent with respect to human “Standard of Living” and “Health Indices”. Even World Health Organization acknowledges that “Africa currently confronts the world`s most dramatic public health crisis”. Thambo Mbeki said, “as Africans, we need to share a common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent”. In all sincerity, we got a lot to do, except we would be living in denial.

According to a (WHO, 2018) report, of the 20 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios worldwide, 19 are African, with yet the highest neonatal death rate globally. The burden of Communicable and Non-communicable diseases keep getting uglier. These deaths are usually connected with chronic malnutrition. R.G Hendrikse, a renowned scholar, who worked extensively on Malnutrition in Africa published that “Malnutrition lurks like an evil spirit in the home of many.”

A well-fed population produces a healthy future population which increases economic productivity because such populations aren’t dependent rather they are better suited to give back to society. A well-nourished body is in a better position to wade-off infectious diseases, hence the need to increase surveillance on the causes of malnutrition by leveraging on the expansion of Information Technology and creating more investments for farmers like loans, seeds, fertilizers, and machineries to facilitate a rapid evolution from subsistence farming to large-scale farming.

According to a statement credited to Kofi Anan in 2014, at an “African Progress Panel” meeting in Addis Ababa, “Africa imports food worth 35 Billion US Dollars each year”. A well-coordinated investment in African agriculture will help transform the economy from a Food-Importing continent to a Food-Exporting continent. This will, in turn, create more job opportunities in farming, supplying, transporting, processing; improving the quality of life (and health) of many.

Our condition is yet bedeviled by Brain Drain in the Youth population. Many young health professionals are fleeing from the richest continent in search of greener pastures – It`s an Irony.
In several cases, the best hands are no longer around to address our worst problems. The World Economic Forum`s Global Competitiveness Report (2014-2015) claimed that Burundi, Algeria, Mauritania, Chad, and Guinea are the top 5 African countries unable to retain their top professional talents. This deficiency was highlighted by the Ebola crisis. In 1973, there were 7.76 doctors per 100,000 people in Liberia, by 2008 there was a drop to 1.37 doctors.

Also, Uganda is said to have less than 5,000 doctors and 30,000 nurses for its population of 35 million people as said by World Health Organization. A University of Nairobi scholar, “Prof Magoha” once lamented that 30-40% of the estimated 600 doctors who graduate in Kenya yearly, leave the nation after an internship, which has been so ravaging to Kenya`s health sector. Usually, these indigenous health professionals migrate in search of good jobs while sometimes it might be due to civil/political unrests. Whatever the case may be, it has become glaring that if this will be solved then there is a need to guarantee our Youths gainful employment. It`s also important that adequate attention is paid to their welfare. Allowances should always be paid promptly.

These strategies have worked for countries like Rwanda who are respected for their abilities to retain their top professional talents. South Africa also has achieved some feat in this regard, with recent reports that 359,000 professionals have returned in 5 years through the right administration of incentives. In South Africa (SA), for every skilled individual who returns, 9 new jobs are generated in formal and informal sectors. If it worked in SA, then it can work in any other part of Africa.

Another approach to achieving a healthy Africa is the inclusive involvement of Youth-engaging Civil Societies to hold African governments and all stakeholders accountable with respect to the health of the populace. For example, in 2003, African leaders agreed to apportion a minimum of 10% of their national budgets to agriculture. Only a few countries have been consistent with that decision over the years. The involvement of civil societies in the Kano Pfizer Drug Trial (which led to the deaths of Nigerian infants as a result of a violation of research ethics) ensured that important health stakeholders like pharmaceutical companies, research institutions were held liable for failing to adhere to laid down standards. This has helped improve the health of Africans. Upholding this commitment will bring us closer to achieving a healthy population.

There is a huge need for us to strengthen our health and academic institutions via increased allocation and effective management of resources. There should be more allocation of funding and an efficient management system that guarantees the availability of “state of the art” facilities like ICT as well as periodic monitoring and evaluation of projects. Many of our research and health institutions are still traditional in their way of managing our health problems. We should also look inwards and seek conventional ways to manage our health issues taking into consideration the rapid urbanization sweeping through Africa. Also, the academic institution should create multidisciplinary fields that favor transition from Academic to Policy environment. The importance of informed policymaking cannot be overstretched. This should be followed by an integrated implementation of health policies that involve all stakeholders – from grassroots to the top.

A healthy Africa is one we will be proud to call our own. In October 2014, the US sent experts to a West African nation to study how the latter overcame the Ebola crisis in a short time. This shows how much faith the rest of the world got in our continent. It`s time to lead the way. Believe me, we can lead the world in Health Innovations, we can achieve a Healthy Africa; the Africa of Our Dreams if all hands will be on deck.
Cite This Article As: Victor Oyelade. "Achieving the Africa of my dreams: a healthy Africa." International Youth Journal, 09. June 2018.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/achieving-the-africa-of-my-dreams-a-healthy-africa





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