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A review of Africa’s health gains and challenges in 2015

Jan 06, 2016 Healthcare delivery in Africa made giant strides in 2015. However there were a few challenges that sprung up in the course of the year.

The Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa made history, after it became the first African hospital to implant the world’s smallest pacemaker known as the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System.

The technology offers a lifeline for many patients with cardiac problems by helping the heart beat more regularly.

While explaining the procedure, Doctor Ashley Chin, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the Hospital said:

“We give local anesthetic over the right groin area, through the groin area we insert a sheath and through the sheath there is a delivery system that deploys the leadless pacemaker into the heart and the device is positioned into the right ventricular apex and can be re-positioned a few times to make sure it’s in a good position, once its positioned the device is left there and the delivery system is removed,”

In Uganda, the rate of infant mortality was reduced greatly, despite a large influx of refugees from neighboring states facing conflict.

Healthcare centers around the country contributed immensely to this by providing free maternal services to expectant mothers.

Esther Kabumo, a refugee from Congo, who came to Uganda to have her baby said:

“We are happy because they welcome everyone without discrimination. They treat everyone equally. If you don’t have money to buy medicine, they take care of you. There is no problem here. That is why we are happy to come here,”

In October, as part of its cancer awareness campaign, Nigerians made an attempt to break a Guinness world record by forming the largest human pink ribbon in the world.

Commenting on the exercise, Tarere Obaigbo, a Participant at the event said:

“I came for this event because I lost my aunt to cancer and my mom is also a proud survivor of cancer. Cancer is a monster I feel that we need really need to fight in Nigeria and I was actually proud to be a part of this formation,”

Also, the World Health Organization’s annual malaria report showed a significant increase in the number of African countries moving toward the elimination of malaria.

Malaria prevention measures have averted millions of deaths and saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs over the past 14 years in many African countries.

Doctor Pedro Alonso, director, WHO Global Malaria Programme commented on the strides saying:

“There has been a 37 percent decrease in malaria cases over the last 15 years, and that mortality has fallen by 60 percent among all age groups. And this has resulted in an estimate of 6.2 million lives saved over the last 15 years,”

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