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Identifying Key Challenges Facing Healthcare Systems In Africa And Potential Solutions

Authors Oleribe OO, Momoh J, Uzochukwu BSC, Mbofana F, Adebiyi A, Barbera T, Williams R, Taylor-Robinson SD

Received 19 July 2019

Accepted for publication 17 October 2019

Published 6 November 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 395—403


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Obinna O Oleribe,1 Jenny Momoh,2 Benjamin SC Uzochukwu,3 Francisco Mbofana,4 Akin Adebiyi,5 Thomas Barbera,6 Roger Williams,7 Simon D Taylor-Robinson6

1Excellence and Friends Management Care Centre (EFMC), Abuja, Nigeria; 2Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Federal University Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria; 3Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria; 4National AIDS Commission, Maputo, Mozambique; 5University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria; 6Liver Unit, Department of Surgery and Cancer, St Mary’s Campus, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK; 7Institute of Hepatology, London SE5 9NT, UK

Correspondence: Obinna O Oleribe
Excellence and Friends Management Care Centre, P.O. Box 200 PSIN, Dutse, Abuja 901101, Nigeria

Introduction: Healthcare systems in Africa suffer from neglect and underfunding, leading to severe challenges across the six World Health Organization (WHO) pillars of healthcare delivery. We conducted this study to identify the principal challenges in the health sector in Africa and their solutions for evidence-based decisions, policy development and program prioritization.
Methods: The study was conducted as part of a recent African Epidemiological Association Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique with participants drawn from 11 African countries, Cuba, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Participants were divided into 10 groups, consisting of 7 to 10 persons each. Brainstorming approaches were used in a structured, modified nominal group process exercise to identify key challenges and strategies to mitigate healthcare service challenges in Africa. Identified challenges and solutions were prioritised by ranking 1–5, with 1 most important and 5 being least important.
Results: The first three challenges identified were inadequate human resources (34.29%), inadequate budgetary allocation to health (30%) and poor leadership and management (8.45%). The leading solutions suggested included training and capacity building for health workers (29.69%), increase budgetary allocation to health (20.31%) and advocacy for political support and commitment (12.31%).
Conclusion: The underdeveloped healthcare systems in Africa need radical solutions with innovative thought to break the current impasse in service delivery. For example, public-private initiatives should be sought, where multinational companies extracting resources from Africa might be encouraged to plough some of the profits back into healthcare for the communities providing the workforce for their commercial activities. Most problems and their solutions lie within human resources, budget allocation and management. These should be accorded the highest priority for better health outcomes.

Keywords: Africa, healthcare management, human resources, health systems

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