Infectious diseases are prevalent in most parts of Africa for example, the deadly Ebola virus outbreak. It is sad that infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria cause as much as 69% of the deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. While drugs, medical aids and vaccines can be administered to curtail these diseases, the real danger is the lack of a strong and effective health care system. It is not just about building medical infrastructures but also they should be maintained. In Africa, a lot of funding has been spent on building hospitals with less or no doctors, fewer beds and drugs. Infrastructure does not matter if there is no adequate system to keep it working.
Does Technology Help?
Yes, it does. For instance, in Uganda, health workers use MTRAC a mobile health reporting system which shares data via SMS on the availability of medical items and the latest diseases outbreaks. This innovation has supported vital advances in Uganda’s health system, including creating a quicker response time to disease outbreaks and avoiding medication stockouts. In Rwanda, blood is now delivered by drones to hospitals for transfusion for faster delivery. Before now, blood was transported by road which is slow and unreliable. Technology for medical purposes will create not just a reliable delivery method but will half the number of deaths.
Skills, Knowledge and Expertise
Medicine is a crucial specialized field that deals directly to life. Careful attention should be directed to the people who deliver these services. This could be done by training new generations of medical scientists. Africa countries should take steps towards building their R&D capabilities by conducting researches on various drugs vaccines and diagnostic tests. There should be increased commitment towards training local scientists and encouraging research. The focus should also be on ensuring all who need drugs have the right information, knowledge, resources and skills. Drugs production and distribution should be checked, many fake drugs are circulating the major cities in Africa. Fake medicines cause 100,000 deaths a year in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
A lot of interventions in sub-Saharan Africa are making great impacts. We have the responsibility to ensure that not only are new medicines formulated but that such are available where they are needed even in the remotest places. It is only then that formulating of drugs and donation of aids can make sense. Everyone should be able to access good health care regardless of their social status or where they live. To make healthcare work in Africa, it should be everybody’s business. Health is about life. If the private sector partner with public health institutions, it will stimulate a large amount of efficiency in the health sector. Much CSR from private companies should address health issues in their localities.