Almost all countries worldwide face one challenge or the other in their health care system, and Africa is no exception.
Nevertheless, governments and organizations in African countries like South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe are working tirelessly to improve the continent’s healthcare system.
There has been the introduction of public health reforms, the implementation of modern technology, and the opening of tactical health planning across African countries.
Below is a thorough analysis of the healthcare system in Africa, bringing to mind their problems and possible solutions to them.
Problems/challenges of the healthcare system in Africa
The poor healthcare system in Africa has put its occupants into severe doubt and terror even as the world fights the pandemic and other viral infections.
Some of the problems of the healthcare system in Africa include;
1. Poor human resources
According to a report from QUARTZ, in Africa, for every 5,000 patients, there is only one doctor to care for them. Again, there is still a lack in the ability and quality of the healthcare workforce in the continent.
Also, in recent years, healthcare workers have been migrating to Europe, North America, and other high-income countries.
For instance, about 75% of their indigenous healthcare workers from Mozambique and Angola work abroad.
Africa is in high demand for medical professionals. Most professional indigenous healthcare workforces are traveling to other parts of the world because of the lack of ability to entice them to reside and work in the continent.
The pay of medical professionals is low in Africa, which discourages them from practicing in the continent.
Instead, they travel to places where they can receive as much appreciation for their efforts in other parts of the world.
2. Inadequate maintenance and management of healthcare system infrastructure
The healthcare system infrastructure in Africa is facing a problem of inadequate care. Underdeveloped infrastructures accompany the said problem.
Some healthcare staff has low maintenance culture and neglect the need to upgrade to modern facilities.
In some places with a laudable amount of infrastructures, there is still the problem of infrastructure implementation, drinkable water, awareness on hygiene, and underdeveloped sewage systems.
3. Inefficient management and leadership
Corruption and poverty have been affecting the healthcare system in Africa.
These drawbacks come primarily from the public medical healthcare system staff that illegally steals and resells free drugs and other healthcare facilities.
Inefficient management and leadership of medical staff is the primary cause of this problem.
The actions of these corrupt staff lead to the reduction in the access of patients to medicine, services, and other resources.
4. Poor allocation of healthcare resources
Another problem of the healthcare system in Africa is the poor allocation of healthcare resources. Most public healthcare centers in African countries receive inadequate resources to take care of their patients in the best way possible.
The government budget allocation is not enough to cater to the needs of the healthcare system.
Some patients travel out of the continent to get healthcare services with adequate resources.
5. Numerous medical needs of Africans
Public healthcare centers in Africa often need support to cater to Africans’ dynamic medical and medical needs.
At some point or the other, there is usually an outbreak of one virus or infection or the other in Africa, such as the case of Ebola, Zika virus, measles, malaria, and lots more.
These outbreaks usually call for prompt intervention. The regular medical needs of Africans pose a problem to the health care system.
6. Fake drugs
Fake or counterfeit drugs are another major problem that the healthcare system in Africa faces. These counterfeit drugs cause death and other health-related complications.
Fake or counterfeit drugs are possible in the continent because there is little or no supervision and management of distributors of medical care resources.
Solutions to the challenges of the healthcare system in Africa
There is a pressing need to tackle the already existing and emerging challenges of the healthcare system in Africa.
The various innovative solutions for addressing the continent’s healthcare challenges are listed below.
1. Educating and training medical and health workers
Countries in Africa face the challenge of literacy, and the only way to curb this problem is through education and training.
The healthcare sector can set up institutions to provide quality education and training to students who will qualify to lead and manage the healthcare facilities in the continent.
Even though Africa has one of the highest populations globally, the continent also has one of the highest diseases.
Surprisingly, Africa’s number of healthcare workers is one of the lowest worldwide, thus requiring massive education and training to produce more professionals.
2. Running of awareness campaigns
An extensive public awareness campaign is the key to solving the problems of poor maintenance and management of Africa’s healthcare system and facilities.
The awareness should go deep into remote areas to reduce the load of patients in healthcare centers.
There should be a dispatch of testing camps to rural areas in the campaign.
3. Raising the health budgetary allocation
From a report from the World Bank, only 6% of Africa’s GDP goes to health in Sub-Sahara Africa. The record is a hindrance to the development of the continent.
As a matter of urgency, the government in all African countries should allocate enough funds to their healthcare sector during the next budgetary.
The fund is essential to increase the salary of healthcare workers and build modern healthcare infrastructures.
4. Establish centers for development and research
Because the African healthcare system always faces viral infections, setting up operational research and development centers is necessary.
These centers will have professional staff that will look into the healthcare challenges as they emerge and proffer solutions to them.
The healthcare industry in Africa yearns sternly for innovation to tackle all health-related problems, thus the need for more funds into the sector.
5. Technology integration in the Africa healthcare industry
The world is going digital, and the Africa healthcare industry needs to embrace technology to meet modern healthcare needs and efficiently treat patients.
Technology in healthcare will help in improving the interaction between doctors and patients. It will further aid resourceful and rapid healthcare management and supply.
With the availability of the internet, doctors can download and use software to monitor their patients.
With technology, the Africa healthcare system can easily combat the issues of fake drugs and other related problems.
The public can also utilize the information for their safety, while healthcare students can access a vast range of information.
5. Partnership development
The healthcare system will improve if African countries partner with international bodies such as the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO).
Their close collaboration will drive results and positive responses to the policies of the African healthcare industry.
Furthermore, public and private healthcare sectors in Africa need to collaborate so as to jointly put together an enhanced healthcare system.
What is the healthcare system like in Africa?
In Africa, middle-income earners depend on public healthcare facilities with fewer funds to receive healthcare services.
However, the rich rely on private healthcare facilities with adequate funding for their healthcare needs.
The class disparity in the healthcare system has always been a problem in Africa. It has been the concern of even international organizations like the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
What are the problems of healthcare in Africa?
The healthcare problems in Africa include but are not limited to lack of human resources, inadequate healthcare system facility maintenance, and insufficient allocation of resources to the healthcare sector.
What is health system analysis?
Health system analysis considers the arrangement of institutions, history, and politics to provide evidence and a combination of health system outputs, processes, and input in producing results.
Why does Africa have poor healthcare?
The majority of the healthcare facilities in Africa are public institutions, making it possible for government corruption.
Additionally, a high increase in cases of HIV and AIDS, outbreaks of diseases and infections, and frequent conflicts in African countries contribute to the poor state of the African healthcare system.
From the information above, we analyzed the healthcare system in Africa, stating the problems and actionable solutions to the issues of the African healthcare system.
Among the solutions we proffered here include:
- Investing in developing a partnership with international healthcare systems.
- Educating health workers.
- Integrating technology.
- Creating awareness campaigns, etc.
To get the best results in the healthcare system in Africa, all hands must be on the desk. The efforts of medical students, doctors, other health workers are all essential to achieve better results in the industry.