Improving women’s health, improving society

Posted on | juli 20, 2011 | No Comments

With the help of development aid Sierra Leone has joined the ranks of sub-Saharan African countries offering free medical care for women with a particular emphasis on women and children. Even if it is too early to glean whether or not these programs are a success, suggestive evidence indicates that more women are being helped than ever and that prenatal care has particularly lessened the scourge of deaths of mothers and babies in childbirth:

The results in Sierra Leone have been “nothing short of spectacular,” said Robert Yates, a senior health economist in Britain’s Department for International Development, which is paying for almost 40 percent of the $35 million program, with most of the rest coming from donors like the World Bank. Since waiving the fees, Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities, a 61 percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases at health clinics, and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals, according to figures Mr. Yates supplied.

It seems to me that there are two areas of civil society the improvement of access to which could radically improve the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa (and to be honest, much of the world). These are health care and education. Couple improvements in these areas with good governance and the prospects for the region will improve markedly.

AUTHOR: Derek Charles Catsam
URL: http://africa.foreignpolicyblogs.com
E-MAIL: derekcatsam [at] hotmail.com

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