SEATTLE, Washington — Today, less than half of Africa has access to modern medical facilities. While there are many factors contributing to this problem, a severe lack of resources devoted to medical care and doctor shortages are some of the clearest reasons for this crisis. From 2000 to 2015, Africa’s average total spending on healthcare was as low as 5 to 6 percent of its GDP. This is nearly half of the world’s average health expenditure as a percent of GDP, which has hovered around 10 percent for the past decade. However, today there are valiant efforts being made to expand access to medical care in Africa. Here are five organizations providing medical care in Africa.
Healthy Women Healthy Liberia
Healthy Women Healthy Liberia (HWHL) is a nongovernmental organization in Liberia attempting to encourage health and health education for “patients through comprehensive, sustainable, community-based Primary Health-Care.” With a population of around four million, Liberia only has 55 physicians. This organization was founded by Dr. Chris Hena, a Liberian doctor who wanted to improve the Liberian healthcare system.
HWHL has led programs that seek to reach Liberians who are not able to get consistent medical care. In March 2019, this organization helped serve more than 600 Liberians, providing free treatment to 500 people and performing more than 150 surgeries. The work being done by groups like HWHL is part of the reason why infant and child mortality rates have fallen by nearly 70 percent in the last 25 years. HWHL’s commitment to expanding medical care in Africa offers a great example of the work being done to improve the lives of impoverished Africans.
Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication
The Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication was founded in 2002. It is an organization based in Malawi that uses “evidence-based health and development communication, social mobilization and advocacy” to encourage Malawians to choose and maintain healthy behaviors.
Pakachere is attempting to expand medical care in Africa through a number of programs. For instance, they have developed 17 drop-in centers throughout Malawi that offer HIV counseling, STI testing and other basic
healthcare services. With only 19 physicians per million Malawians, the healthcare Pakachere and other NGO’s provide by is crucial for Malawians who are in need.
Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET)
THET is an outstanding organization that is working to improve access to healthcare for low and middle-income countries. It “educates, trains and supports health workers through partnerships” in order to strengthen health systems. In Ethiopia, the government only spent 4.9 percent of its GDP on
healthcare in 2014. This leaves a lot of people in rural communities with no access to healthcare. THET is attempting to reach rural patients who desperately need medical care.
THET has provided decentralized care to 17 rural healthcare centers with a particular focus on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD), which account for 30 percent of deaths in Ethiopia. Whether it be diabetes, epilepsy or asthma, THET has diagnosed and prescribed long-term solutions for more than 7,700 patients. Faced with both doctor and resource shortages, THET is doing an admirable job reaching the disadvantaged Ethiopians who haven’t had access to medical care.
World Hope International
World Hope International was founded in 1996. This organization is attempting to expand medical care in Africa alongside numerous other projects. With only 22 physicians per million people available in Sierra Leone, groups like World Hope International are trying to provide necessary care for those in desperate need. For instance, this group has provided physiotherapy and support services to more than 800 children living with disabilities.
World Hope International has also been partially responsible for helping contain Ebola in Sierra Leone. To help combat malnutrition, the organization worked with more than 2,000 community groups, teaching them proper feeding practices for infants and young children. Groups like World Hope International are offering amazing services responsible for serious improvements in impoverished people’s lives.
Intrahealth International has been working in developing countries for more than 20 years. The organization values technology, partnership and the importance of the health worker. In Senegal, Intrahealth International has gone into more than 150,000 homes to spread awareness about Malaria. It has also facilitated 23,000 community dialogue sessions on the topic.
Additionally, this organization has reduced the loss of stock for contraceptives to less than 2 percent by training almost 3,000 health workers in pharmaceutical stock management. With 80 percent of young people in Senegal reporting to never have had access to a health facility, Intrahealth’s Neema project is attempting to offer youth access to family planning and medical information.
All five of these organizations are carrying out phenomenal projects to improve access to medical care in Africa. Coupled with more resources and doctors, these groups could serve as some of the most important factors for granting more impoverished Africans the healthcare they deserve.
– Myles McBride Roach