1000s of Children die due to shortage of health workers
In some countries, there are just over two health workers for every thousand people.
A new report released by Save the Children shows that children in such countries are five times more likely to die, than in other countries at the top of the index.The international charity is said to be working in 120 countries around the world.
Greater political will and more investment in the health sector in Africa could go a long way in reversing this trend, something Aboubacry Tall, Save the Children UK's Regional Director for West and Central Africa points out in an interview with WADR on the release of the report.
"Those are two key elements and the report goes back to the Abuja Declaration as one expression of political commitment, in West Africa for example, where our countries make up to 15% investment of national budget in the health sector. very few countries on the continent have got close to that mark," Tall tells WADR.
Save the Children's report, which highlights how the shortage of health workers impacts children’s lives, suggests that more than half of the worst 20 countries in the world where a child can fall sick are in Africa.
"At the moment, a child's survival depends on where he or she is born in the world. No mother should have to watch helplessly as her child grows sick and dies, simply because there is no one trained to help,” the report says.
Among the West African countries listed at the bottom of the health index are Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau.
"The charity is highlighting a global shortage of over 3.5 million doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers. Without health workers no vaccine can be administered, no life-saving drugs prescribed and no woman can be given expert care during their childbirth. Illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, which are easily treated, become deadly," the report says.
Considering the situation in the health sector as dire, Save the Children says "it's lobbying world leaders at this year's annual UN meeting to end the health crisis."
The report says the international charity is also lobbying African and other governments, donors and partners "to recruit more health workers with appropriate skills; make better use of existing health workers to reach the most vulnerable children;ensure that all health workers are paid a fair wage; and deliver more funding for healthcare, and in a more effective way."
WADR’s Elisabeth Laure Njipwo speaks with Save the Children UK’s Regional Director, Mr. Aboubacry Tall on the health gaps.
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