Health Millennium Development Goals in Africa: The Challenges, Critical Policy Interventions and the Way Forward
Centre for Health, Bioethics & Human Rights
Simon Uche Ortuanya
University of Nigeria
June 5, 2010
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the ones that are health-related, hold special significance for Africa in that they incentivize countries in the region to: first, look beyond their shores to strategies being implemented by others to improve the health and wellbeing of their people and, second, incorporate transferable best practices into their national initiatives. But the process precariously perches on the threshold of being stifled by seemingly insuperable factors, especially continuing deterioration of the state of health, coupled with widespread poverty in many of these countries. Yet, surmounting them holds the key to meeting the health targets of the MDGs. This paper analyzes these challenges, casting them as rooted principally in deficiency of access to health care and other socioeconomic and environmental health determinants – a deficit that is fundamentally generated by a region-wide system of irresponsible governance and sustained by docility on the part of the populace. It identifies critical interventions both within and outside the health sector that must ground and propel national initiatives aimed at reversing the status quo and accelerating progress toward the health MDGs.
Keywords: Africa, health, health care, millennium development goals
JEL Classification: I10, I12, I18, I31
Date posted: June 13, 2010 ; Last revised: January 7, 2013
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