HEALTH EQUITY - African Renaissance
19May2024

Category: HEALTH EQUITY

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTION

World Health Day – Health for All

Africa faces a number of challenges in ensuring that every individual has access to quality healthcare – health equity. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in healthcare infrastructure, training healthcare workers and provision of essential medicines and technologies. However, even before the pandemic, many African countries struggled to provide adequate healthcare to their populations, particularly for women and marginalized communities. In order to achieve Health For All, policymakers and legislators must prioritize health equity, gender equality and socio-economic justice.

Challenges facing healthcare in Africa
The challenges facing healthcare in Africa are multifaceted and require comprehensive solutions. One of the main challenges is access to healthcare. Many individuals, particularly those in rural areas, face significant barriers to accessing healthcare facilities due to long distances and lack of transportation. Additionally, the cost of healthcare can be prohibitive for many individuals, particularly those living in poverty. This leads to a lack of preventative care and the overuse of emergency services, which strains the healthcare system.

Another challenge facing healthcare in Africa is a shortage of healthcare workers. Many countries in Africa face a critical shortage of healthcare workers, particularly doctors and nurses. This shortage is due to a combination of factors, including brain drain, where healthcare workers leave their home countries to work in developed countries and a lack of investment in healthcare education and training.

Furthermore, there is a significant gender gap in healthcare in Africa. Women often face discrimination and bias in healthcare, particularly in accessing reproductive health services. This bias in healthcare is due to a lack of investment in women’s health and gender-sensitive policies. The result is that women often have limited access to healthcare services, particularly those related to reproductive health.

Addressing the challenges facing healthcare in Africa
In order to address the challenges facing healthcare in Africa, policymakers and legislators must prioritize health equity, gender equality and socio-economic justice. This work means investing in healthcare infrastructure, training healthcare workers and provision of essential medicines and technologies. In addition, implementation of these policies to address the social determinants of health, such as poverty, unemployment and discrimination.

Investing in healthcare infrastructure
Investing in healthcare infrastructure is crucial to improving access to healthcare in Africa. This investment includes building and equipping healthcare facilities, ensuring access to reliable electricity and clean water and providing transportation to and from healthcare facilities. Additionally, investment in telemedicine and other digital health technologies can improve access to healthcare in remote areas.

Training of healthcare workers
Investment in healthcare education and training is essential to address the shortage of healthcare workers in Africa. This continous medical trainings (CMTs) include training more doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals and investing in community health workers who can provide healthcare services in rural areas.

Provision of essential medicines and technologies
E
nsuring that essential medicines and technologies are available is critical to improving healthcare on our continent. This technology includes medical supplies to treat communicable and non-communicable diseases and medical technologies such as diagnostic equipment and vaccines.

Addressing the social determinants of health
In order to achieve health equity, policymakers and legislators must address the social determinants of health, such as poverty, unemployment and discrimination. Dealing with these social determinants calls for investment in education, housing, and economic development and implementing policies to promote gender equality and address discrimination.

Promoting gender equality in healthcare
Promoting gender equality in healthcare is essential to ensuring women accessing quality healthcare. It includes investing in women’s health, promoting gender-sensitive policies, and addressing discrimination and bias in healthcare.

Ultimately, achieving Health For All in Africa requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the challenges facing healthcare in the continent. This approach calls for investing in healthcare infrastructure, training healthcare workers and provision of essential medicines and technologies. Moreso, addressing the social determinants of health and promoting gender equality. Policymakers and legislators must prioritize health equity

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYWATER & SANITATION

World Water Day

 

Caroline Kwamboka N., Trustee & Founding Director, African Renaissance, highlights the need for African countries as they review their sanitation policy guidelines to focus on the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations. She emphasizes that ensuring access to safe and equitable sanitation is critical to advancing gender equality and social inclusion.

 

” Africa is lagging in achieving the SDG6 targets.
As countries review their sanitation policy guidelines,
it is very important to remember that poor sanitation
particularly affects populations that are disadvantaged and marginalized.
This includes women and girls and people with disabilities.

On this World Water today,
we urge our leaders to pay special attention
to the needs of marginalized populations
those who are vulnerable,
particularly women and girls living in poverty,
and ensure that gender equality and social inclusion
is mainstreamed in sanitation policies and guidelines.

We have an opportunity to end indignity,
improve health for all,
improve school attendance,
and enhance awareness around
menstrual health and hygiene practices.
If we embrace gender equality and social inclusion
in our policies and guidelines.”

Caroline Kwamboka N.
Founding Director and Trustee,
African Renaissance

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIO-ECONOMIC PROTECTION

Caroline Kwamboka N. at the AU Gender Pre-Summit

The African Union Gender Pre-Summit held recently was a watershed moment for stakeholders involved in gender equality and health equity in the Africa. As African Renaissance, we had the privilege to participate in the continental meeting.

The Summit, which took place under the theme, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth to Achieve Gender Equality,” was a significant event that brought together various actors, including policymakers, civil society organizations and grassroots movements, to discuss policies and strategies that can promote gender equality, helath equity and socio-economic justice in Africa.

The Pre-Summit was organized in the lead-up to the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit, which took place on February 9th and 10th, 2023. The AU Summit was an excellent opportunity for African leaders to build on the momentum generated during the Gender Pre-Summit and adopt policies and commitments that can advance gender equality in Africa.

During the Gender Pre-Summit, various speakers highlighted the challenges facing women and girls in Africa, particularly with regards to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Several participants underscored the need for increased investment in comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, and maternal health services to improve women’s health outcomes in the continent.

Participants also emphasized the need to address the gendered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, which has disproportionately affected women and girls, particularly those living in poverty. As such, there were calls for policymakers to prioritize gender-responsive policies and programs that can support women’s economic empowerment and reduce gender-based violence.

Finally, the Gender Pre-Summit was a platform for sharing best practices and success stories from across the continent. Several African countries, including Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Africa, were praised for their efforts in promoting gender equality and youth empowerement particularly in political representation and socio-economic support.

We believe that the African Union Gender Pre-Summit was a critical event that highlighted the challenges and opportunities in gender equality and health equity in Africa.

Caroline Kwamboka N., Director, African Renasissance committed that we will be working with other stakeholders to build on the momentum generated during the Pre-Summit and advocate for policies and programs that will advance gender equality and health equity in Africa.

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTION

Calling on African leaders to dedicate resources to gender equality, health equity and socio-economic justice

The World Day of Social Justice is a day set aside by the United Nations to promote social justice and address issues of poverty, exclusion, and inequality around the world. As we mark this day, it is essential to recognize that social justice is a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by all people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status. In Africa, social injustice has led to poverty, inequality, and exclusion for many, particularly women and marginalized communities. To address these challenges, it is critical for African leaders to dedicate resources to gender equality, health equity, and socio-economic justice.

To promote gender equality, African leaders must dedicate resources to address the root causes of gender inequality. This includes ensuring that women and girls have access to quality education, healthcare and economic opportunities.

Gender Equality

Gender equality is a critical aspect of social justice. In many African countries, women continue to face discrimination and exclusion in various aspects of their lives. They have limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, which limits their potential to contribute to the development of their communities and countries. Gender-based violence is also a pervasive issue, with women and girls being subjected to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. To promote gender equality, African leaders must dedicate resources to address the root causes of gender inequality. This includes ensuring that women and girls have access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. It also involves promoting women’s leadership and political participation and addressing gender-based violence by implementing laws and policies that protect women and girls.

Health Equity

Health equity is critical to social justice, particularly in the African context. Many African countries have poor health systems, which limit people’s access to essential healthcare services. This has led to high rates of maternal and child mortality, as well as the prevalence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. To promote health equity, African leaders must dedicate resources to strengthen health systems and improve access to essential healthcare services. This includes investing in healthcare infrastructure, training healthcare workers, and increasing the availability of essential medicines and vaccines. It also involves addressing the social determinants of health, such as poverty, lack of education, and limited access to clean water and sanitation.

Socio-Economic Justice

Socio-economic justice is critical for promoting social justice in Africa. Many African countries have high levels of poverty and inequality, which limit people’s access to essential services and opportunities. This has led to exclusion and marginalization, particularly for vulnerable communities such as women, children, and people with disabilities. To promote socio-economic justice, African leaders must dedicate resources to address the root causes of poverty and inequality. This includes investing in education and training, creating job opportunities, and promoting inclusive economic growth. It also involves addressing issues such as land rights, access to credit, and social protection, which can help to reduce poverty and inequality.

Call to Action

As we mark the World Day of Social Justice, we call upon African leaders to prioritize gender equality, health equity, and socio-economic justice in their development agendas. This requires dedicating resources to address the root causes of social injustice, such as discrimination, exclusion, and poverty.

We also call upon African leaders to ensure that their policies and programs are gender-responsive, and that they address the unique needs and challenges faced by women and marginalized communities. This includes promoting women’s leadership and political participation, addressing gender-based violence, and improving access to essential healthcare services.

Finally, we call upon African leaders to engage civil society organizations, women’s groups, and other stakeholders in their efforts to promote social justice. These organizations play a critical role in advocating for the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable, and their expertise and perspectives must be considered in policy and program development.

Conclusion

The World Day of Social Justice provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of social justice in Africa and the role that African leaders must play in promoting it. By dedicating resources to gender equality, health equity, and socio-economic justice,

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTION

Leveraging technology to deal with Cancer in our Region 

As we join the world in marking World Cancer Day, we call upon leaders in Africa to take action to address the continuing rise of cancer cases in our region. The situation has been dire for the past decade. It is time for decisive action to ensure that African people with or at risk of this disease have accessible and effective healthcare solutions. 

Believed to have been caused by structural and social determinants, cancer rates in Africa are consistently unacceptably high, affecting as many as one in four African people. As of 2018, the African continent accounted for more than 25% of the world’s cancer cases despite representing only 15% of the global population. These statistics are from African countries that lack the infrastructure and funding necessary to address cancer diagnoses effectively. There are also severe inequities in the medical and administrative services available to the African people. This inequity is unfair because they are facing the highest cancer burden globally. This burden creates an urgent need for medical resources and interventions to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer on the African continent. 

Therefore, African leaders must take an active role in addressing these issues and dedicate funds to help fight the cancer battle. African leaders must prioritize the physical and mental health of their citizens. For too long, there has been a lack of investment from national and international funders towards providing cancer services in Africa. This lack of investment must be addressed, as access to life-saving treatments should be a human right for all in Africa. African leaders must also ensure that cancer-related services are adequately provided to all members of their countries and make sure that these services are free of any gender discrimination. Additionally, an increase in public education and awareness initiatives is necessary to ensure that African citizens have access to information on the signs and symptoms of cancer, prevention techniques, and the treatment options available. 

As African Renaissance, we believe that the launch of the Africa CDC is a positive step towards improving public health in Africa by providing a centralized platform for disease surveillance, control, and response. The success of the Africa CDC will depend on various factors such as adequate funding, strong leadership, and effective collaboration with other organizations and governments. Africa CDC will address public health issues, including cancer in the region. Cancer is a growing concern in Africa, and the Africa CDC is well-positioned to play a critical role in addressing this challenge. This program could include initiatives aimed at improving cancer diagnosis and treatment, strengthening cancer surveillance and research, and raising awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention of cancer. The Africa CDC will work with African countries and other partners to develop and implement solutions specific to the needs and circumstances of each country and region. 

Additionally, African leaders should look to technologies that could potentially address the cancer burden on the continent. For example, mobile technology for house calls to the underserved, where there is often a lack of available medical care. It could also help in providing remote treatment and consultation services, which could potentially reduce the costs of healthcare services. 

In conclusion, as African Renaissance observes World Cancer Day this year, we urge African leaders to act to address the challenge of cancer on the African continent. This action can include dedicating and raising the much-needed funds to invest in life-saving treatments, providing adequate medical and administrative services to those in need, and utilizing available technologies to ensure that all African citizens have access to quality healthcare services. Only through a collective effort to ensure equitable access to cancer care can we begin to make a difference in the battle against the cancer epidemic in Africa. 

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTIONWATER & SANITATION

Distributing Dignity Kits is a powerful way to support the development of African Girls 

Dignity Kits are an invaluable tool for helping girls in African countries. Especially, for the girls that lack access to basic amenities and resources. By providing these girls with the tools and materials they need to maintain their hygiene, health and dignity, these kits can play an integral role in empowering communities and individuals in some of the world’s poorest countries. 

Dignity Kit distributions are an effective form of gender equality and empowerment. For adolescent girls and women in Africa, accessing basic water and sanitation supplies can be a life-changing opportunity. A lack of access to these resources can often leave girls and women feeling embarrassed, ashamed and vulnerable due to the lack of basic hygiene, health, and dignity. The social stigma associated with not having these resources can leave girls increasingly isolated in their communities and prevent them from reaching their full potential.  

Dignity Kits can also provide ongoing educational opportunities to girls in African countries by ensuring they have the essential items they need in order to attend school. By providing a girl with a Dignity Kit, she will have the supplies necessary to help her reach her educational goals. The kits contain basic water and sanitation supplies, feminine hygiene products, clothing, shoes and educational materials such as writing materials and textbooks. Thus, providing girls with Dignity Kits can increase their confidence, motivate their academic studies and help them to build a successful future for themselves and their families. 

In addition to promoting gender equality, Dignity Kit distributions can also provide a range of health benefits for girls and women in African countries. By providing them with access to basic hygiene and sanitation items, these kits can help to reduce the rates of hygiene-related illnesses, such as skin and respiratory conditions, which are common in under-resourced countries. Furthermore, providing girls and women with access to these resources can also help to reduce their risk of becoming victims of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. 

Together with Biems House, we at African Renaissance had the privilege to talk to a few girls in Narok County in Kenya and one of the requests they had for us was to provide them with these dignity kits. It was an honor to take a trip back to deliver our promise to these girls. We were able to deliver a number of kits with additional kits for the boy. We believe that will small step will show our leaders that it is possible to invest a about five dollars for a kit that will give freedom to a girl for a few months. The confidence that the girls acquire from accessing these basic supplies will have a ripple effect in their future and the future of their communities.  

Having seen the importance of Dignity Kits distribution in Africa, we call upon our leaders and the governments around the world to make every effort to ensure that girls and women in these countries have access to the basic supplies they need to maintain their health, safety, and dignity. This could include increasing access to health infrastructure, providing more resources and education opportunities, and organizing more regular Dignity Kit distributions. In doing so, governments can empower thousands of girls in African countries to reach their full potential. 

HEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTION

Making healthcare accessible for vulnerable populations in Africa

Making healthcare accessible for vulnerable populations is an important issue that deserves a lot of consideration. Vulnerable populations are generally individuals who are at risk due to economic, social and health-related issues. These groups usually have limited access to basic health care due to a lack of financial resources, living in rural areas, or facing linguistic or cultural barriers. As a result, there is an urgent need for policies that promote equitable health care for these vulnerable populations in order to reduce financial and health-related disparities. 

Improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations requires a multifaceted approach that considers both the individual and their environment. On a personal level, vulnerable populations require healthcare services and resources tailored to their specific needs and language. This may include providing bilingual doctors, providing health education and information that is culturally appropriate and relevant and offering mental health counseling and other support services that meet the needs of the communities. Additional attention should be paid to providing care to those with pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses.  

On a broader level, governments should be encouraged to employ policies that expand access to healthcare services regardless of background or socioeconomic status. For example, governments can work with private health care providers to increase the availability of health care services in underserved areas, or provide targeted funding to improve access to care. It is also important to create policies that prioritize the prevention of illness especially non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. These could include establishing a public health system for early detection and treatment of diseases, nutrition education, and other public health initiatives aimed at improving overall health. 

Equal access to health care requires comprehensive strategies to promote good health and safety. Policies should be developed that use a multidisciplinary approach. These policies should include strategies for healthcare providers to develop effective communication techniques with vulnerable populations; proactive screenings, treatments, and preventative services; and supporting communities with culturally competent training and resources. 

In January 2023, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, inaugurated the new Headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) located at the African Village, south of Addis Ababa. During the inauguration ceremony, he mentioned that the African Union Commission and the Africa CDC along with RECs and Member States, having taking stock of the structural weaknesses that have characterized Africa’s health system, launched the New Health Order for Africa in 2021, which focused on strengthening public health institutions, public health personnel, manufacture of vaccines, action-oriented partnerships, and increasing national resources for health security. 

As a commitment from the African Renaissance we call upon our leaders in Africa to work towards making healthcare accessible for vulnerable populations. This accessibility is an essential part of promoting health equity. It requires relevant and culturally competent health care services and resources tailored to individual needs, as well as policies that improve access to care and prioritize prevention of disease. In order to ensure that vulnerable populations receive the best possible care, it is important to understand their unique needs, create effective strategies at both the individual and community level, and support government initiatives that foster health and wellness. 

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITYSOCIAL PROTECTION

World Contraception Day #WCD

Every year, voices from around the world are heard calling for a future in which every pregnancy is desired. This call is loudest on World Contraception Day which is marked on the 26th of September.  

African Renaissance recognizes the importance of this day, especially for the women and girls in Africa. It is a day when we roll out campaigns to expand people’s appreciation of contraception. It is a day to inspire people to make well-informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and to exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Through Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5 and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) there is a global accord to end preventable maternal deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa lost 196,000 women and girls to maternal deaths in 2017 (UNICEF). 

It is a clear reflection of the inequalities that we face regarding access to quality health services. Our health systems are compromised to a level where we lose our women and girls to severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications from delivery and unsafe abortion. Our systems have to improve to safeguard the lives of our women. We need to provide education and SRH services that will safeguard the lives of our women and girls.

We call on parliamentarians to set laws and policies to protect the rights of choice. Every pregnancy should be desired and it is the responsibility of both the woman and man. The onus is equally on the woman and the man to choose whether or not to have a child. Modes of contraception are readily available for women and men. As African Renaissance, we call upon all people of reproductive age to consider a mode of contraception. Women and men need to embrace the modes of contraception that are available and accessible to them. 

We commit to continue the campaign to educate and provide access to contraception to all who need it here in Africa. 

GENDER EQUALITYHEALTH EQUITY

Africa Day – Towards Food Sustainability

Africa’s strength is in its people!

We believe that for Africans to be healthy and strong, our continent needs to have sustainable food sources. We must have the ability to feed ourselves adequately. The last century saw a major shift in food production on the continent. We got forced into a situation where we did not eat what we produced nor produce what we ate.

As African Renaissance, we seek to support policymakers to build strong applicable policies to make this achievable. Through such policies, we shall ensure that agro-food systems are protected to enhance health and social protection systems to accelerate human, social and economic development.

#AfricaDay2022 #FoodSustainability

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