Africa Is Developing Solutions for Fighting Disease and Improving Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

Disease Treatment in Africa

In Uganda, 50 percent of all HIV/AIDS patients have been reached with life-saving antiretroviral medicine through an innovative programme that trains nurses to do some of the work traditionally done by doctors and community health workers to take on some of the work of nurses.

In Mali, community cost-sharing schemes have provided 35 of the country's 57 community health centres with staff trained to deliver babies and perform emergency caesarian sections, making skilled obstetric care available to thousands of women who could not previously afford it.

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In Rwanda, a police-led road safety campaign, which has included introduction of fines for failure to wear seatbelts or helmets, resulted in a drop of nearly one quarter in the number of deaths from road traffic injuries in a single year.

And in South Africa, a health-care train routinely transports young doctors and final-year medical students to isolated farming areas that would otherwise have no access to basic medical services. To date the train has provided health care to half a million people and health screening and education to an additional 800 000.

These steps forward and others chronicled in The African Regional Health Report: The Health of the People -- the first report to focus on the health of the 738 million people living in the African Region of the World Health Organization -- offer hope that over time the Region can address the massive health challenges it faces, given sufficient international support.

"Africa confronts the world's most dramatic public health crisis, but this report shows there are public health solutions that work in the African setting. These can be extended to all Africans in need, if governments build on lessons learnt from successful interventions while seeking better coordination with the efforts of international partners", said Alpha Oumar Konar