The situation seems the same across the continent of Africa when talking about health infrastructures. The dichotomy between cities and rural areas in healthcare service accessibility and affordability is quite conspicuous. It becomes a sorry situation as one journeys to the outskirts of those familiar cities, into the hinterland. Most rural areas are more like forgotten locations. Their lack of good access roads compounds their under-development nightmare. And health-related policies and programmes aren’t helping to resolve some of the shortcomings.
The yearly budgets of the different governments seem to appropriate little to the health sector which scarcely can go round. Staff training is another difficult topic to dwell on. A look across the various health facilities in the continent will show how under-populated with qualified hands they are. The few available capable hands are seeking greener pastures outside the shores of the continent.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a 21st-century eye-opener to all this. The hospitals were overwhelmed with patients for testing and isolation/quarantining. Testing kits, ventilators, management drugs, expertise in research, etc, became some of those ugly sights that were thrown up above the murky waters of poor healthcare in the continent. But not for the African “resilience” and some other forces combined (this is open for investigation) that lowered the spade of infection and deaths the situation would have been catastrophic; as was already being predicted by some experts and persons from the West. But will it always be this way? Will the African skin/blood always come to the rescue while we go about with business as usual, ignoring our health sector?
Few months after the height of the global spread of Covid-19 infections it seems Africa has moved on with life. Little has been heard of new infection cases coming from testing conducted. Yet there is the constant movement of people in and out of the continent. And the media has turned attention to other national issues and current affairs. The African scarecrow has gone to sleep.
The voice that awakes us to the consciousness of preventive living has gone lower. This is happening in spite of the shortcomings in the health sector within Africa. Who will be hurt from this? Think no further; the poor will. Only those without the means to seek private healthcare services locally or overseas healthcare will have to suffer.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call to all governments in Africa to do the needful regarding what affects the health of their citizens. But whether they will ignore this call and wait for another pandemic, or, that they will act now will be revealed in the course of time. The scarecrow here is adequate preparation to forestall any health crisis.