Feb 17, 2011

Op-Ed: To Improve Public Health in Africa, Stronger Governments Are Needed

AUTHOR:Professor Francis OmaswaSOURCE:New Vision

In an excellent op-ed published in the New Vision, Professor Francis Omaswa, the former Director General of Health Services for Ministry of Health in Uganda and Executive Director of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), argues for greater governmental responsibility for more effective health systems in every African country.

Professor Omaswa argues that the government has the primary responsibility of acting as provider, regulator, and coordinator of effective health systems. He writes, “These are responsibilities of the state that cannot be delegated. Stewardship and leadership is one of the central building blocks of an effective health system.”

Further, he rejects the ideas of Africa as “a continent for global pity…deemed (unable) to take care of itself” and as a continent “…in need of outside help for both resources and, worse still, ideas and solutions.” He argues that Africans must create the change they desire and then notes three key actors in realizing “country ownership.” The first is the governments and political leaders who have given commitments to Africa’s health; second, bridging the “huge implementation gap” between words and actions; and third, the importance of the people as a catalyst for change.

Finally, Professor Omaswa underscores that various global actors must give African governments “country ownership” and also the opportunity to demonstrate that Africans are accountable to their own people’s standard of health. Life for Mothers (LfM) supports Prof. Omaswa’s call for government action on better healthcare systems in Africa. Dr. Strulovici, the founder and President of LfM, was introduced to Professor Omaswa by Dr. Jo Boufford, President of New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Strulovici has met with him multiple times over the past four years and as recently as today is receiving advice and support in order to implement the pilot project to reduce maternal/neonatal mortality in Busujju county in the District of Mityana.

Click here to read the full article: http://www.newvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=8&newsCategoryId=459&newsId=746199

Did you know?

Every year, more than one million children are left motherless and vulnerable because of maternal death.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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