World Health Day is an International Day marked every year on the 7th of April to bring awareness to the health issues prevalent in the world.
The theme of this year’s World Health Day is Universal Health Coverage; Everyone Everywhere. This year makes it 70years the World Health Day has been celebrated. A ton of events organized by the World Health Organization and interested parties took place to educate, motivate and guide Health Care stakeholders to make commitments towards Universal Health Care.
Prevalent Health Issues in Africa
Nigeria suffers the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually with 97 % of the total population at risk of infection. 85% of malaria cases and 90% of child deaths from Malaria are in Africa.
AIDS kills around 6,000 people each day in Africa, which is more than wars, famines and floods. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst-affected region of the globe. In 2010, approximately 68% of all people living with HIV were residents of sub-Saharan Africa with Swaziland being the worst-affected with 25% of adults infected.
- CHILD MORTALITY
According to World Health Organization, Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in high income countries. The top 12 countries with the highest under-five mortality rate are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Cholera, largely eliminated from industrialized countries by water and sewage treatment over a century ago, still remains a significant cause of illness and death in many African countries. Some of the recent affected countries include Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Tuberculosis has become one of the most serious diseases in Africa with over 8 million new tuberculosis cases reported annually. It is stated that a new Tuberculosis infection takes place every second in Africa because of the undernourishment, a shortage of immunization, and the occurrence of HIV/AIDS.
During the 2015 outbreak of the meningitis sicknesses in Zamfara state, Nigeria, almost 700 cases were diagnosed and 50 people died. The death rate even though small, left many meningitis survivors deaf, blind or demented for the rest of their lives.
- YELLOW FEVER
According to the WHO, there are 200,000 cases and 30,000 deaths annually with 90% of the cases and deaths occurring in Africa.
In 2015 an estimated 500,000 persons, mostly children under five, died from pneumonia in Africa.
For the Health Outcomes in Africa to improve, there needs to be a restructuring of the Health Sectors in Africa. Funding is very vital. The Leaders of African Countries need to prioritize the Health and well being of their citizenry which should be reflected in the budget allocations to the Health Sectors in their various countries.
Secondly, there needs to be a huge investment in the education of both upcoming and already practicing medical practitioners. Medical Practitioners need to be incentivized to remain in their home countries rather than migrate abroad.
Finally, achieving Universal Health care should not be the sole responsibility of the Government. Business Organizations, Schools and NGOs can all play important roles in ensuring everyone gains access to Basic Health Care. This is already in effect as some Business organizations align their CSR initiatives to alleviating certain Health Issues prevalent in Africa.