CHANGES IN THE PROVISION OF HEALTH SERVICES AFTER INDEPENDENCE IN AFRICA
The health care facilities of most African countries were inherited from colonialism that were used to care the Europeans and civil servants and few and poor medical facilities caring the ordinary citizens. Most of them were allocated in urban areas unlike in villages especially in capital cities.
In fact most of Africans preferred traditional medicines offered by the traditional doctors in their communities. This was due to the fact that imported medicines from overseas provided in a modern hospital were very expensive t the extent that most Africans could not afford them. After independence the dominant diseases that affected people to the large extent were bilharzias, malaria, typhoid, polio, measles, cholera, tuberculosis.
In Tanzania health services have been provided by the government, national parastatal agencies, and churches, local and international voluntary agencies. Government put more emphasis was to rural areas through funds allocation as health centers and dispensaries were established.
OBJECTIVES OF HEALTH SERVICES AFTER INDEPENDENCE IN AFRICA
To uplift the standard of living of the people
To promote the health of the people
Expanding health facilities for the citizens
Reduction of imbalance in the provision of health facilities between urban and rural areas
To stop the high infant mortality rate and high maternal death rate during child birth
THE FEATURES OF HEALTH SERVICES AFTER INDEPENDENCE IN AFRICA
It is provided by the government, churches, local and international voluntary agencies.
It is based on benefiting rural areas and support for preventive rather than curative aspects of health services
It emphasizes on the need to provide basic needs including housing, water supply and healthcare
Allocation of more fund in the provision of health services by the government
Provision of health services free of charge until the 1980’s
Introduction of user charges in the government hospitals after 1980’s
THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE PROVISION OF HEALTH SERVICES AFTER INDEPENDENCE
WEAKNESSES IN THE PROVISION OF HEALTH SERVICES IN AFRICA AFTER INDEPENDENCE
Lack of human resources, especially well trained health personnel this is due to the fact that during colonial rule many Africans were not trained by the colonialists.
Corruption, most of the civil servants in health sector are not faithful as they had been practicing corruption through selling of government funded medicines at a throwaway price to unscrupulous business people something that result to suffering among the populations.
Inadequate financial resources, most of African countries experience lack of enough funds to provide quality health services to whole country free or at low cost following this access to personnel health care has therefore remained the privilege of a few people in society. For example rural areas are neglected as good services are mainly available in the urban centers.
Poor planning and lack of resources to support the provision of health services, for example poor provision of infrastructure, clean water and transport has affected the delivery of health services.
Dependency on donor funding who provide conditions to the African countries under Structural Adjustment Programs. For example the introduction of cost sharing policy discouraged many poor people from seeking good medical attention.
Failure to research on local traditional medicines has led African governments to spend a lot of resources in buying medicines from other parts of the world.
Existence of incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer and diabetes has created heavy burden to most African countries since they require a lot of financial resources and time in caring. For example by the end of 1980’s over six million people had been infected in the continent
STRENGTHS OF PROVISION OF HEALTH SERVICES IN AFRICA AFTER INDEPENDENCE
Expansion of health facilities like hospitals, dispensaries and health equipments has been expanded through constructional activities and provision of health equipments.
Provision of health services in both urban and rural areas for example most hospitals were allocated in urban centers while most of dispensaries were allocated in rural areas so as to delivery health services to the people of urban and rural areas.
Training of African health personnel who take charge of the health sectors in the countries. For example medical doctors, nurses and other caregivers.
Eradication of epidemic diseases that existed in Africa for a long time this was done through the provision of vaccines for diseases like polio and measles.
Establishment of many medical training institutions for example medical training centers and universities for training health practitioners.
Establishment of research centers I most African countries with a view to investigate causes of certain ailments and seeking for the cure.
Adoption of alternative medicines to tackle health problems.
Reduction of infant mortality rate.