How Healthcare in Africa is Improving Lives

19th February 2018 By Sophie Knight

In recent years, Africa has seen mass improvement in their healthcare and medical capabilities due to more funding and access to resources otherwise not available previously. The state of healthcare has improved dramatically over the last decade in Africa and is set to make even more advancements in the coming years. Since Africa is so vast, the standard of healthcare differs widely depending on the country as well as the region. People living in more urban areas are more likely to receive better healthcare than those living in more remote areas or regions.


Whilst diseases both infectious and parasitic remain the leading cause of death in the continent, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension, are unfortunately on the rise. HIV in young people is around nine times the global average and it said that a child dies of malaria every 60 seconds, despite it being completely preventable and treatable.

Furthermore, in North Africa, the life expectancy is 71 years old which is the highest in the whole of Africa. Meanwhile, the lowest life expectancy in the continent is in West Africa where a person can on average expect to live to 55 years old.  Thus, improvement in the healthcare department is extremely vital to changing the quality of life for people in certain parts of Africa for the better.

Interestingly, traditional African medicine, which heavily relies on herbal remedies, is still the most prevalent form of medical care with the World Health Organisation finding that as many as 80% of the population in developing counties depend on this form of medical treatment.

Spending on Health Care

In the year 2001, the African Union (AU) met in Nigeria. At this meeting, various countries of Africa agreed that 15% of their budgets would be allocated to healthcare. Whilst only four out the sixth who pledged this kept to their word, this is a step towards improving the overall livelihood of African people.

However, it is still true that fewer than 50% of Africans have access to modern health facilities. Meaning that African countries are which spend less than 10% of their GDP on health care are suffering for it.

Access in More Rural Areas Through Technology



Thanks to technology healthcare can be delivered in a whole new way. We can easily see the impact that technology has had on western medicine, we are far more advanced than we had ever dreamed of being in the 21st Century. In terms of comparison, Africa has a long way to go to match the western standard of medical technology. However, by making use of the technology that Africa has available to them, it is now possible to provide better healthcare to those who do not live in urban areas, but rather in remote and rural regions.

Furthermore, data is far more accessible thanks to technology in Africa. In turn, this availability makes the tasks of doctors and policymakers alike a lot more straightforward and easy to conduct. More informed decisions can be made about the conduct of healthcare as well as how to continue to improve the healthcare system in the future to make it the best it can possibly be.

More Healthcare professionals

There has been a crisis in the form of a lack of professionally trained health care professionals. One of the main reasons there is a lack of professionals in the world of medicine working in Africa is because the most educated and most highly trained are routinely seeking employment opportunities in Europe and North America.

However, recently there has appeared to be a shift. More and more western healthcare professionals have taken it upon themselves to make it their mission to improve the lives of African people by providing their services in Africa rather in their home country. Likewise, western countries are donating what they can to African countries in order to do their bit.


Take, for example, the charity “Australian Doctors for Africa”. ADFA is a not-for-profit organisation which provides medical equipment and supplies. They also personally consult and teach domestic health care professionals in Africa and undertake surgical procedures. The ADFA currently work in and have established programmes of medical aid in three countries at present, these are Somalia, Madagascar and Ethiopia. They aim to expand as and when they have achieved their goals in this area and receive more funding.


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