African Medical Healthcare System

May 18, 2024, by Damilola Jimmy

African Medical Healthcare System by Damilola Jimmy

Most African countries are suffering from a terribly poor healthcare system which is gravely affecting their citizens. The medical healthcare system of a country is no joke, but the African leaders seem to be oblivious to this fact. This can be tied to the fact that they can easily fly themselves out of their countries to get the best treatment from foreign countries.

Doctors in African Hospitals
Over the years, African countries have recorded high fatality rates in malaria, lower respiratory tract infections, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDs, and many others. While other countries have stepped up their games to either curb these diseases or eradicate them totally, African countries are still struggling to manage the rapid spread among their citizens.

Taking a peek into the foreign medical healthcare system, the reality of almost 60% of the doctors and nurses operating in the sector being Africans has caused concern. Is that a pride or loss for us? No doubt, their excellence is well proclaimed and acknowledged in their various fields. Examples are, Iyalla Elvis Peterside who is the recipient of the 2021 Best Physician Award in the United States, Dr. Samuel Achilefu, Dr. Bankole A. Johnson, an Alumni Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, and many more.

With the excellence of African doctors worldwide, it is safe to say that African Medical Health care needs a great push starting from Primary Health care to advanced care.

What exactly are the issues the Healthcare systems are facing?

·         Poor resources allocation to the Healthcare system

While foreign countries allocate a very high percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the advancement of their healthcare system, most African countries shy away from this and allocate the barest minimum. In 2022, the United States allocated 17.3% of their GDP and further increased as the year went by, while Nigeria allocated only 3.38% in 2024, which is absolutely bizarre. The healthcare system is seriously underfunded, and it doesn’t look like it will get better in the near future as long as the leaders can get treatment elsewhere.

·         Poor maintenance

Even the best things need to be well-used and kept well, to maintain their effectiveness. The existing infrastructures are not being properly maintained and taken care of to keep the medical effectiveness intact. The pressure on existing machines, tools, equipment, and other medical materials deepens each day due to high demand by the people, but there is no adequate funding to keep them in good condition or buy more to help ease the pressure.

·         Lack of political will

As mentioned previously, the leaders in power are not motivated to renovate the healthcare system because they have very easy access to the fabulous health care system of other countries. They see no need to pump money into their countries’ hospitals, clinics, and research centers, so they don’t even include it in their political agenda or make it a top priority. They would rather channel the funding to places that will fetch them money quickly in return and leave the crumbs to the citizens and health practitioners to share among themselves.

·         Lack of human resources

Each passing day, many healthcare practitioners are exiting their countries to look for a greener pasture and also be in a society where they can hone their skills, have access to great research, and get recognitions in their careers. Can we ever blame them? No! Only passion doesn’t pay the bills after all.

·         Patients Are Uninformed

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Most countries with an advanced medical healthcare system also have programs where they get their citizens informed of various medical conditions, symptoms, things to do, expect and where to call for help in any case. This is seriously lacking in the African medical healthcare system and it is seriously concerning.

·         Expensive Healthcare

Private businesses are taking over the healthcare system, and what do we expect? They will make their profits! Their services are expensive and non-accessible to the average citizen. They can only be afforded by high-class citizens, which is just a small percentage.

These are just a few of the reasons why the African Medical Healthcare System is crumbling. Although there are other factors such as poorly trained staff, the biggest factor and responsibilities still lies in the government’s refusal to make it a priority. 

Will there be a change in the near future? We can never tell, but it doesn’t hurt to hope.

Written by:

Damilola Jimmy

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