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AfrolutionistsSocialState of Affairs

The Africa state of health: Stronger institutions for higher health quality

Towela ‘Kams’ Tembo

On the 7th of March this year, Africa Healthy Lifestyle Day was commemorated at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters under the theme: Healthy lifestyle prolongs life.

Three months later, post Africa day celebrations, we look inwardly in our oppression. From foreign colonial subjugation to different despotisms of our governments to the African people. Today’s determination focuses on how well our governments work cohesively  to build a prosperous Africa for all.

There are different measures of strengthening self-determination on the continent, however a human-centered approach to development remains a tried-and true champion. Speaking to Ms. Namhla-Mniki Mangaliso Executive Director of the African Monitor,  she explains that African Monitor believes that people-centered development can only be promoted in nations where inclusive local economies are cultivated and supported.

Achieving a prosperous Africa means ensuring the same opportunities are available to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status. According to The World Health Organizatio  report The unequal distribution of health-damaging experiences is not in any sense a natural phenomenon but is the results of a toxic combination of poor social policies, unfair economic arrangements [where the already well-off and healthy become even richer and the poor who are already likely to be ill become even poorer] and bad politics.

In Agreement Mangaliso says “ As a result, areas like quality reproductive health care or tertiary health care services are still lagging behind, either due to absence of health care givers or shortage of medicine.” She further notes that the allocation of national budgets reflects the many ways in which the interests of poor Africans are discarded. In many cases, the trickle-down effect of this is seen in health care providers and their insensitive attitudes towards the poor. This demotivates their attempts to pursue health care. The physical well-being of the poor continues to be neglected and their basic human right violated. Simultanously, many countries still face limited or no access to clean water..

With the current health inequality issues on our doorstep, I can’t help but wonder, what can the people at the receiving end of these ill-practices do to elevate their situation? How do community voices reach governmental institutions to build a prosperous Africa?

Mangaliso urges youth participation as essential for AU’s Agenda for African development. The community voices consist of African youth, who form over 70% of the continent’s population. She adds that without the passion, commitment, innovation and abilities of young people, not much can be done. “To advance Africa people with a clear understand of technology, new knowledge systems, and new ways of working are needed.  And that is Africa’s youth,” she says.

The African Monitor strongly believes in the capacity of the youth to yield growth and is therefore committed to promoting youth takeover for sustainable African development. The African Monitor has recently published The Citizen’s Report. This is an initiative under the African Monitor run in 10 African countries. The report has mobilized young people who are actively engaged in collecting data to measure service delivery in their local communities. They then use the data to engage with the duty bearers such as community leaders, government officials and ministers to highlight service delivery gaps in communities and to call for improved delivery.

The rise in digital age has permitted young people to raise awareness on issues they face. If maximised upon, digital tools could be effective  bridge the communication gap from government officials. “In some cases, the young people use media and social media to raise awareness about service delivery gaps. The one thing that young people need to learn is that they have the power to change how governments behave and hold them accountable.” Mangaliso states conclusively.

With organizations like the African Monitor working earnestly to encourage youth to rise to the occasion and take their respective places in the fulfillment of the Agenda 2063, Africa’s aspiration by the AU to create “development that is people-driven” and realize a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development is within reach.