COVID-19 outbreak; a more reason for African leaders to develop health facilities?


A study by the World Health Organization found that a lack of political will and little financial allocation to the health sector were to blame for health inequalities in Africa.

Moreover, the common practice in most African countries that informs this inequality and lack of concern is the rate at which the political leadership and the well to do in society fly to advanced countries for treatment anytime they face challenging health issues. With this mindset, our leadership has failed over the years to invest in the health sector to build and equip enough facilities to cater for the general health demand and also prepare for deadly outbreaks.

To these leaders, much as they have the means to access healthcare anywhere across the world and at whichever cost, they do not really care about the remaining populace whose taxes fund these trips and luxurious lifestyles.

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Unfortunately for them, COVID-19 is a global pandemic which demands that everyone including the heads of state, remain in their respective countries and solve their problems with the available systems they have. They do not have the option this time to run from the mess to advanced countries for refuge because these countries are equally dealing with the same health problem.

Nurses in the isolation unit during a media briefing to discuss the first case of Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 11, 2020. Photo: Misha Jordaan/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Commenting on the issue of African heads of state seeking health care abroad instead of developing their systems, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) advised during a meeting with African health ministers in Zimbabwe that, it is very important to focus on all building blocks of the health system, be it the infrastructure or human resources, service delivery, information systems, access to medicine and governance.”

However, many of them ignored this and continued the allocation of funds towards projects tagged as misplaced priorities. Today, the world is faced with coronavirus which keeps spreading at an unimaginable pace and even countries with stronger and well-equipped health systems are recording high number of deaths. How prepared is Africa?

If care is not taken, the inefficiencies and lack of priority to health-related infrastructure and human resource we have nurtured over the years may end up costing Africa a lot during this trying moment of the fight against the deadly coronavirus. We at EYEGAMBIA hope African leadership learn their lessons whilst we go through this pandemic and invest in the health sector in preparation for the future.

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