Your health is our primary concern
The health clinic in rural Ongino is located at the end of a dirt road, about 7 km from the town of Kumi. The clinic is a snapshot of the challenges Africa faces, 60 percent of Africans live without electricity, and while the continent bears a quarter of the global burden of disease, health care expenditures are only 1 percent of the total in the world, according to a recent report from McKinsey. But the prognosis is improving. Governments in the region are investing in healthcare infrastructure and reforms. It is not an easy solution. Experience has shown that what works in American hospitals does not work in Africa. At least 40 percent of hospital equipment in Africa is out of service due to a lack of spare parts and training for health professionals. This compares to just 1 percent of equipment in high-income countries.
Dr. Robert Olupot says new African hospitals are using natural cross ventilation, remote wards and an effective triage system to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. He says simple measures, such as having a hand-washing station up to 20 meters away in the hospital, help prevent hospital infections. In Kumi Hospital, things started to change in 2003, when a trained midwife from the Netherlands arrived with a pocket-sized ultrasound machine called V-scan. Her visit was part of an investigation into innovations that could accelerate the government's efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Africa.
Newborn and maternal health is the main health problem in Africa, before malaria or AIDSRobert Olupot, director of the hospital