This week saw a number of exciting advances in dealing with health worker shortages as well as building the capacity of developing health systems. Africa now has its own association for public health, schools of medicine are working to meet the need for professional health workers, new state of the art hospital facilities are built in northern Rwanda, young people ask for more information and more sexual education, and African countries still work to meet the need for their health systems to deal with infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases.
Public Health is a growing field across the African continent. The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo said the launch of the African Federation of Public Health Associations provides a useful platform to harness complementary capabilities and resources for better public health outcomes in the region. He said it will facilitate exchange of information and experiences among national public health associations and promote inter country cooperation.
With extensive research and architectural design efforts, the Burera District in northern Rwanda now has a state of the art hospital. PIH expanded the existing health center to grow into this pinnacle of treatment since 2007.
In a study published on World Contraception Day with support from the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), young people in 29 different countries said that they needed more sexual health education and information. ”Sexuality is often a politically loaded subject which governments don’t want to burn their fingers on,” says Henk Rolink of Dutch sexual health and rights organisation Rutgers WPF. ”What’s more, health care budgets are often very low. Family Planning gets a low priority. In many other countries sex education mainly concentrates on abstinence. This is often the case in Western countries too, but of course it doesn’t square with reality. Young people do have sex.”
This article’s title comes from research that shows individuals with close friends who are obese are more likely to also be overweight. Nigeria’s health system works to address NCDs, particularly obesity, as growing health concerns. At the gathering of health experts during the International Conference Centre in Abuja for the 2nd International Conference of the Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS), the focus was on series of health concerns particularly the growing global obesity epidemic.
In one of the more developed countries of Africa, there are still significant shortages in health workers and doctors. In scenes that can be replicated in many burdened health systems, one of Ghana’s port cities’ hospitals has closed its doors because there aren’t enough medical doctors. Director of Health Services Dr. Irene Agyepong said that actions had been taken to return the hospital to normal operations.
It is no doubt that increasing programs for medical education will be key to meeting the shortage of health workers across Africa as well as building the capacity of health systems. With the increases in enrollment at the Orota School of Medicine, Eritrea has seen the patient burden on the health system decrease from 29,000 people per doctor to 20,000 people per doctor. The school has a goal of school of having a doctor for 6000 every people in the year 2020.