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HEALTH

Africa has the worst health, on average, in the world. The region has 11 percent of the world’s population but carries 24 percent of the global disease burden. With less than 1 percent of global health expenditure and only 3 percent of the world’s health workers, Africa accounts for almost half the world’s deaths of children under five, has the highest maternal mortality rate, and bears a heavy toll from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. It has become obvious that Africa lacks the infrastructure to provide even basic health care to many of its people. The scale of the challenge is driving a reassessment of traditional approaches and a growing acceptance that the private sector should be a key part of the region’s overall health strategy. The world health Organisation ( WHO) has established that ,Africa will never climb out of poverty unless its devastating health challenges are tackled. African health regional report by WHO gives an insight into why Africa has such a heavy burden of disease and premature death and suggests interventions that are known to work within the regional context. Of the 20 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world 19 are in Africa. Africa also has the highest neonatal death rate in the world. AIDS continues to decimate the population of Africa, which has 11% of the global population but 60% of the world’s people infected with HIV. More than 90% of the 300-500 million cases of malaria in the world each year are in Africa, mainly in children aged under 5 years.

One key reason for Africa’s health problems is that basic sanitation needs remain largely unmet: “Only 58% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to safe water supplies.” However, some diseases, such as river blindness, guinea worm disease, and leprosy, have been virtually eliminated, through the adoption of effective solutions at a community level and with outside support. Immunization campaigns are now successfully tackling polio and measles. If we are to continue moving forward, African governments and their partners must make a major commitment and invest more funds to strengthen health systems.”

As well as detailing the burden of disease that has led to “the world’s most dramatic public health crisis. In Uganda 50% of all patients with HIV or AIDS have been given access to antiretroviral drugs through an innovative programme that trains nurses to do some of the work traditionally done by doctors and that trains community health workers to take on some of the work of nurses. Community cost sharing schemes have provided 35 of Mali’s 57 community health centres with staff trained to deliver babies and do emergency caesarean sections, making skilled obstetric care available to thousands of women who could not have previously afforded it. A road safety campaign in Rwanda has introduced fines for failure to wear seat belts or crash helmets, resulting in a drop of nearly a quarter in the number of deaths from road traffic injuries in a single year. African countries will not develop economically and socially without substantial improvements in the health of their people.

EDUCATION

The early years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their socio-emotional development. More often than not, early childhood years will determine whether a child will be successful in school, gain decent employment and income, as well as influence the lives of future generations. Investing in early childhood development benefits whole societies. Yet, African countries are lagging far behind other regions in early childhood development. Children enrolled in pre-primary education programs are more likely to come from affluent households, although children in low-income communities in Africa would gain the most from such programs. The goal of pre-primary schools should be to prepare children for success in primary school. However, the quality of early education programs tend to vary significantly from country to country. If early education programs exist in a country, studies found that teachers are often untrained and schools lack the necessary resources and effective curricula for early childhood development. More students than ever before in history are enrolled in schools throughout Africa. That’s good reason to cheer, but the pipeline of trained teachers, instructional materials, and infrastructure development have not kept pace with the heavy demand.

Rising enrollment rates have drastically outpaced an increase in educa- tion funding, resulting in shortages of instructional materials and supplies, poorly stocked libraries and overuse of school facilities. Indeed, while more students are in school classrooms, there is a deeper learning crisis at play: many students are not gaining basic skills while attending school. In fact, some students in school are not much better off than those who missed school. Consequent- ly, the quality of education in Africa is in a perilous state. Private institutions are increasingly stepping in to educate children who lack access to an education or to fill the gaps in a country’s public education system. Recognizing the strong correlation between education and socio-economic development, countries in sub- Saharan Africa have gradually increased public spending on education by more than 6 percent each year. African countries devote a substantial proportion of the government budget to the education sector despite relatively low GDPs and a host of competing development challenges. Increases in government education spending are often not enough to meet key education targets and provide a decent education for its young people. Globally, public education expenditure accounts for 4.7 percent of the world’s $18 trillion GDP per capita. The Africa region devotes 5.0 percent of total GDP of about $1.5 trillion to public education expenditure, which is the second highest percentage after North America with a total $32 trillion GDP per capita and Europe at 5 percent with a total $24 trillion GDP per capita.

  • African countries have allocated the largest share of government expenditure to education at 18.4 percent, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 17.5 percent; and South and West Asia allocated only 12.6 percent.
  • International donors, on average, finance nearly 6 percent of the education resources of African countries. The total amount of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) committed to Africa’s education sector was $2.6 billion in 2008, reported The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
  • The largest proportion of private funding for education in Africa is generated from individual households. Households contribute about 25 percent of the total national education expenditure, according to UNESCO .

GENDER EQUALITY

Gender equality is a fundamental development objective, and is essential to enabling women and men to participate equally in society and in the economy. Center for Africa Poverty Eradication is dedicated to help improve the lives of women and men by supporting government partners with knowledge and research.

Significant progress has been made in closing gender gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa: Many years back, there were 91 girls for every 100 boys in primary school, up from 85 girls in 1999. And at 61 percent, women in Sub-Saharan Africa have one of the highest labor force participation rates in the world According to world bank.
Despite these gains, African women continue to face some grim facts. Girls are still much less likely than boys to benefit from a secondary education. An African woman faces a 1 in 31 chance of dying from complications due to pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,300 chance in the developed world.Edit

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