Prof. Juliet Nabyonga-Orem | Editor In-Chief
Prof. Juliet Nabyonga-Orem is a leading health systems expert with experience spanning over 2 decades. She has been instrumental in the transformation of health systems in many African countr...Read More
Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams | Editor
Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams is a health systems and policy analyst. He has almost 3 decades of experience in senior health management in Ghana including 16 years as District Medical Officer/Med...Read More
Prof. Oladele Akogun | Editor
Prof. Oladele Akogun has spent over 25 years on health system research, focusing on access to and utilization of intervention services. He holds a PhD in Public Health and a Postgraduate Dipl...Read More
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Taking the bull by the horn: South Sudan’s ministry of health takes charge of health development in the country.
Date of Publication: August 18, 2021
1Juliet Nabyonga-Orem; 1Gilbert Buckle; 2Moses Ongom
South Sudan has faced internal conflict and fragility for more than a decade, but who says it will be a conflict setting for many more years to come? The South Sudan Government is poised to transition the country from a fragile situation to a developing one. The Leadership of the Ministry of Health (MoH) is already sending a clear message that conflict is over, it’s time to think development. The MoH organised a Leadership and Governance Conference from 16th – 20th August under the theme, “Strengthening governance and leadership c...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 178 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 29 Read More
Date of Publication: August 16, 2021
COVID-19 threatens to reverse impressive progress made against the HIV/AIDS pandemic through impacting HIV/AIDS funding, restricting patients follow up due to lock downs, disruptions in service delivery due to overstretched health systems and shifting glob...Likes: 3 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 182 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 46 Read More
Date of Publication: May 30, 2021
In 2018, a new terminology emerged in the Ghanaian society labelled as “no bed syndrome” to describe the phenomenon of lack of beds in hospitals for new patients, particularly in the emergency department. The phenomenon seems to have been in existence for a while, albeit latent, until it was implicated in the death of a 70-year-old man; a sad event which occurred following several failed attempts to secure admission. Although the incident caused an uproar in the Ghanaian society, it seems little progress has been made towards its resolution and anecdotal evidence suggest that the situation is persisting. In this blog, the a...Likes: 3 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 601 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 140 Read More
Cry no more: Universal access to cancer treatment is possible in a low-income country as we learn from the Uganda experience.
Date of Publication: April 22, 2021
Unaffordable, impoverishing, stressful…are the repeated phrases characterising the road to cancer treatment in low income countries (LICs). However, the government of Uganda, through the Uganda cancer institute has defied the odds as we explore in this blog.
The double burden of disease (communicable and non-communicable), with the associated high cost for prevention and treatment, and the need for sophisticated interventions and service delivery models, are resounding challenges to achieving universal health coverage(UHC) in LICs, Uganda inclusive. Closely related to this is the increasing ...Likes: 3 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 454 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 147 Read More
“Imprisoning” patients unable to settle their medical bills: a public health issue or human rights crisis?
Date of Publication: January 30, 2021
Health is a fundamental human right which creates an obligation for countries to ensure the availability and access to affordable healthcare services for its citizens without discrimination. This obligation notwithstanding, users may be unable to pay for services following hospital discharge. Even with the advent of national health insurance schemes, some persons may still be unable to pay for services out of pocket leading to their detention or ‘imprisonment’ in the healthcare facility till the bills are settled. The issue is a rather complex one which often raises crucial medical, ethical, and legal concerns and this blog...Likes: 10 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 733 Comments: 1 Export to PDF 226 Read More
Date of Publication: January 24, 2021
Africa, with the least total wealth out of the major global regions, has experienced a good COVID-19 case rate which is somewhat hard due to the poor enforcement of restrictive measures that are aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Concerns have been raised with regards to the accuracy of the c...Likes: 3 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 884 Comments: 1 Export to PDF 212 Read More
Date of Publication: December 11, 2020
In September 2019, the world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN high-level Political Declaration on universal health coverage (UHC). In adopting the declaration, UN Member States committed to advance towards UHC by investing in health systems, especially the foundations for a stronger primary health care. The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, welcomed the political declaration on UHC as “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health”.
A few months later...Likes: 2 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 601 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 240 Read More
Date of Publication: October 5, 2020
In recent times, Ghana has been riddled with news of many gory road fatalities which have rendered families rid of beloved relatives and friends. A recent data from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service as reported by graphic online indicated that in 2019 alone, 2,284 fatalities occurred due to road accidents in Ghana, with the Greater Accra Region leading the figures with 449 deaths followed by Ashanti and the Eastern region respectively. These alarming figures have no...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 183 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 264 Read More
Date of Publication: August 31, 2020
A healthy body is your most valuable asset and you must be careful what you feed it. We often focus on the expiry dates on the products we purchase from the shelves, but is that all? This blog explores important aspects that must be taken into consideration when buying items from the shelves of supermarkets, pharmacies and other points of sale. Rarely do people pay attention to the inscriptions on these items before purchase, so end up using them without knowing the true components.
Normally, essential items like food and drugs are packaged in cans, bottles and little paper boxes with special information for the consumer,...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 640 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 341 Read More
Date of Publication: August 19, 2020
A status symbol, representing a degree of wealth that shines blindingly piercing the retinas of the most deprived, allowing owners to pontifically convey perspectives with as much noise as the jingling sound that their car keys make, now bunched up with others. The possession of a combustion engine enclosed in its mostly steel shell and powering a set of four wheels means a lot to the Zimbabwean population, a lot that is widely astray from the practical considerations meant to guide them in making the initial purchase. Staying on the issue of going astray, I will do just that, moving away from the stated price of second-hand vehicles and diggi...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 792 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 307 Read More
Covid has put Governance at the heart of debates on development, but how has it changed the questions we ask?
Date of Publication: August 6, 2020
The aim of this blog is to suggest ways in which the ‘governance discourse’ (what a grand term!) is changing – indeed has already changed - as a result of Covid-19.
I know that blogs are supposed to be discursive and informal. Recently our office was privileged to have a session with that master-blogger, Duncan Green, who shared all his tricks and techniques on the art of blogging. However, just this once I am going to ignore everything he said and make my case in two tables.
But first a quick explanation is in order. I perceive (I may be wrong here) that Covid has chang...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 733 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 335 Read More
Date of Publication: July 27, 2020
On the front-lines of emergency medical response in Kenya are clinicians in emergency departments of various types and levels of facilities. These clinicians are expected to be able to handle any medical emergency that walks in through the door. From mothers with sick children, people clutching their chests, those hobbling in on broken limbs and laboring women; every day has its own share of emergencies. Doctors, Clinical officers, and Nurses must overcome their fears, limited knowledge, and resources to do their best in serving those in need.
Emergency care in Kenya is still in its infancy, only recently recognized as a ...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1018 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 343 Read More
Current state of the Zimbabwean healthcare sector: small improvements that could help improve patient centred care and service delivery
Date of Publication: July 21, 2020
Following my visit to Zimbabwe (9 July – 18 August 2018), I sought to get to the root of appalling state that the healthcare sector has found itself muddled in. It is not a secret that this once leading developing country has got the majority of its glory days behind it and the crippled economic condition more likely to yield fewer positive outcomes despite resuscitative intervention. In this blog, I explore the ways in which the healthcare stakeholders and professionals can contribute to the bet...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 906 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 388 Read More
Raising cancer awareness through an automated telephone system: early lessons from the Uganda Cancer Institute
Date of Publication: July 18, 2020
We have all heard the adage “Knowledge is power”. In healthcare knowledge can mean the difference between life and death or suffering. Knowledge of health related issues, such as signs and symptoms of ill health, causes and preventive measures, or where to get proper care when one is ill, empowers people to seek appropriate care in time, follow or adhere to treatments, and to take actions that reduce disease risks.Health literacy is the term used to describe the ability to obtain, process and understand healthcare information, and use it to ma...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 951 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 338 Read More
Beyond the biological basis of disease, the intersection of medicine, social sciences, and indigenous knowledge.
Date of Publication: July 11, 2020
“Type one mamhepo, type two mamhepo… (type one winds, type two winds)” the lecturer’s voice trailed on in the almost empty class with half of the attending students in different sleeping postures. Behavioral Sciences was a mandatory course, but we took turns to skip the classes because we did not find its relevance to medical practise at that time. We were interested in understanding physiology and mastering the neural pathway of the vagus nerve in anatomy. Our lecturers from the different biomedical sciences fueled the stereotype through dismissing social sciences subjects as talk shows and not being m...Likes: 11 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 2486 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 430 Read More
Date of Publication: July 5, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a global health security crisis to health systems worldwide. This crisis is even more concerning in resource limited settings whose health systems are already constrained. Using epidemiological indicators, statistical models predict that cases in Africa are likely to soar, close to what has been witnessed in Europe. Covid-19 has had a gross multi-sectoral negative impact, challenging the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. COVID-19 patients face multi-dimensional symptoms spanning physica...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1217 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 358 Read More
Date of Publication: June 25, 2020
The Covid-19 outbreak has demonstrated once again the severe economic, political and health crises that a pandemic can trigger. As of June 2020, 215 countries and territories have reported Covid-19 cases. Firstly, spared by the worldwide pandemic, the African continent now records 191,993 Covid-19 cases with a death toll nearing 4,281. South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria have been most affected...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 888 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 378 Read More
Date of Publication: June 23, 2020
The month of May, 2020 was the mental awareness month, a time to reflect on the mental issues surrounding us but it slid past us in silence because of the COVID pandemic, yet it could the biggest contributor to the burden of mental illness in this period.
Mental disease is a silent pandemic as compared to the COVID-19 pandemic and with Kenya being one of the countries that do not have a separate budget for mental health, maybe this pandemic should take awaken us to this reality and re-think. The Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1153 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 348 Read More
Fighting COVID-19: The importance of strengthening the primary health care system in limited-resource settings, the case of Ghana.
Date of Publication: June 5, 2020
The outbreak of COVID-19 is raising legitimate questions about the impact of the pandemic on rural poor and displaced populations within the community setting. These vulnerable populations have less capacity to cope with the impact of such an outbreak because they cannot afford the cost of medical care and have limited financial resources to cope with restrictions imposed by governments for purposes of public health adherence.
According to the analysis by the World Health Organization, about 90% of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) with mild symptoms may require services within the community setting as t...Likes: 3 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1582 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 393 Read More
Date of Publication: June 1, 2020
It is no secret that Covid-19 pandemic is a war that that will have far reaching consequences on health systems. The soldiers are not in combat gear, jet fighters or armored vehicles. They are in white gear, wearing full body protective gears and holding stethoscopes and syringes. Unfortunately, a number of African countries prepared for a typical war involving territorial invasion, rag tag militia and military confrontation. Thus, investments towards this end has been massive. Transformation of Public Health systems in many African nations was paid lip service. Commitment and declarations were signed in haste but actions pointed to the contra...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 963 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 345 Read More
Date of Publication: May 26, 2020
The International Conference on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 28 to 30 April 2008, reaffirmed the need to strengthen health systems to achieve better health outcomes. The World Health Assembly Resolution has also asserted that integration of public health care systems is essential for achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) as well as Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Ghana, like most developing countries will most likely find it difficult to achieve all the health targets of the SDGs by t...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1099 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 468 Read More
Date of Publication: May 18, 2020
These have been interesting times; facing a global pandemic while learning on the go. All are affected, no country is spared. It has been the biggest trial to health care systems in Africa more so emergency care systems which are pretty young and fragile especially in Kenya.
Emergency medicine plays a crucial role, as in any other epidemic, pandemic or disaster. Patients suspected of having Covid-19 present to the emergency department first. They come as walk-ins or by ambulance. It i...Likes: 5 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 11909 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 393 Read More
Date of Publication: May 13, 2020
It is close to two months since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed on the African continent. While most countries have heightened their Covid-19 capacities with early establishment of public health measures, the success of management and control efforts is being affected by diagnostic error. In this article, I discuss how the three forms of diagnostic error namely: delayed diagnosis; undetected/missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis; pose a threat to response efforts.
Delayed diagnosis refers to taking an overly longer time than it would normal...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1305 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 407 Read More
Non-pharmaceutical interventions in the containment of COVID-19: do they suffice or only provide a window to strengthen case management?
Date of Publication: April 27, 2020
Earlier in the pandemic, there were misconceptions among the African populace that Africans were immune to the SARS-Cov-2 virus. After Egypt’s confirmation of the first COVID-19 case on the African soil, 52 of Africa’s 54 countries have since confirmed at least one case, as at 24th April 2020. Africa’s cumulative caseload stands at 27,385 with 1,297 fatalities, representing death to case ratio of 4.7% at relatively low caseload as at 24th April 202...Likes: 8 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1637 Comments: 3 Export to PDF 404 Read More
Date of Publication: April 16, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-COV-2 has infected nearly 2 million people worldwide and killed about 122,000 by 15 April 2020. It is not only threatening the lives of humankind by its direct affliction but also imposing poverty and hunger, and exacerbating existing health problems.
There are still many unknowns about the virus; no known treatment or vaccine has been found to be effective yet. However, it appears social distancing measures are mitigating the spread of the disease. Most countries have instituted various versions of social d...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1441 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 382 Read More
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates across the globe, several measures are being employed to minimise exposure to the virus, prevent spread and rapidly detect persons with deteriorating status. Aside the pathogenesis of the disease, the phenomenon of lockdowns of cities across the globe where individuals are required to be confined to their homes only to exit under clearly defined circumstances is still ongoing. Though the latter is beneficial to prevent further community spread, the approach may have significant ramifications for the burn care community. In this blog, we highlight some pertinent issues warranting attention.
Date of Publication: April 10, 2020
“Gentlemen, it is the microbes who will have the last word”.
This quotation is attributed to the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur. How soon this will happen depends on how soon we humans recognize and seriously respond to this threat from viruses and bacteria.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents yet another challenge and opportunity following upon Ebola, SARS, and MERS. It is also a loud call for the world to relearn and h...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1480 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 388 Read More
Date of Publication: April 10, 2020
The emergence of Covid-19 as the most threatening public health challenge over the past few weeks has brought to prominence the absence of systemic framework to address pandemic situations without subjecting a significant percentage of the population to undue hardships in Nigeria. This is particularly so when examined against the underlying principle of healthcare which implies that the management of a medical challenge should not pose a greater threat to life, than the issue being addressed. However, the present approach and manner in which policies directed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 are being implemented in the world's largest assem...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 665 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 350 Read More
Date of Publication: April 7, 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the immense short comings of health systems globally. As a novel disease, whose ultimate course and eventual impact remains unknown, It has been referred to as most challenging human crisis since World War II attacking societies at their core. While the world is navigating an uncharted area, the lessons learnt from previous epidemics show that the effect will mostly affect health systems especial...Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1399 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 384 Read More
Date of Publication: April 5, 2020
“This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear. Even though the situation has been classified as a pandemic, it is one we can control...” --UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
With the COVID-19 infections now confirmed in African countries, governments have put in place various measures to contain the spread of the outbreak. These measures include screening of suspected cases, contact tracing, public education on hand washing and avoiding touching the face, isolation of confirmed cases, and physica...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 2188 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 450 Read More
Date of Publication: April 5, 2020
Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in China in December 2019, the disease has escalated rapidly, culminating in its characterization as a pandemic on 12th of March 2020 by the World Health Organization. The number of new cases continue to rise as at 2nd April 2020, a total of Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 1849 Comments: 2 Export to PDF 399 Read More
Date of Publication: April 2, 2020
Health workers in low income countries (LICs) find it difficult and often financially unrewarding and are often taken for granted when the national cake is being shared. The same may be said for teachers and other critical social sector workers who help to determine the foundations of social development and long term economic well-being.
Our economics however seems to focus on wealth creation for a few with mostly accumulation by individuals without adequate attention to investments in broader equity and well-being. After all, the economic indicators will still show good GDP “growth”.
But when a ...Likes: 5 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 3996 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 398 Read More
Date of Publication: March 30, 2020
The total number of Covid-19 cases globally stands at 638, 146 with 30,039 deaths. The disease, which started Wuhan in the Hubei Province in China, has torn through the entire world with more than 180 countries having seen at least one case. In Africa, 46 countries have reported 4760 cases with 146 deaths. In Uganda 33 cases have ...Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 5427 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 398 Read More
Date of Publication: March 29, 2020
The SARS-CoV-2 (also known as COVID-19), has spread rapidly around the world and is currently affecting 199 countries with a total of 591 971 confirmed cases and 26 990 deaths. In East Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have reported cases of COVID-19 and the numbers are bound to increase. Kenya has already reported the first death in a diabetic patient. The scramble is on for getting in place a mechanism for containment and limiting the spread of the disease. This is in the wake of the devastating impact...Likes: 8 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 6869 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 480 Read More
The potential role of Ethiopian community health extension workers in COVID-19 prevention and control
Date of Publication: March 28, 2020
As of March 27, 2020, the WHO Africa region has reported 2,234 confirmed cases and 39 deaths due to COVID-19, with a steep increase in numbers seen in the last week. Though the numbers are still small compared to other countries, the WHO General Director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus has cautioned his continent to prepare for the worst. Considering most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have fragile and resource constrained health systems, measures should be context specific and focus on the Likes: 2 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 7185 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 448 Read More
Date of Publication: March 22, 2020
I woke up to the news of Italy putting cities on lockdown and two days later the World Health Organisation officially declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic. Other countries started implementing travel restrictions to control the spread of the virus. Everything was happening so fast and it was only a matter of time before an African country reported a case.
At the time of writing this article, there were 1187 confirmed cases from the 42 aff...Likes: 6 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 7547 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 345 Read More
Universal health coverage and ethical issues in the management of burns in developing countries: Who bells the cat?
Date of Publication: March 18, 2020
Burns are a major public health issue across the globe with approximately 70 per cent occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). According to the World Health Organization, the injury accounts for an estimated 180 000 deaths yearly with the majority of these occurring in LMICs. Besides for every death from burns, a far greater proportion of burn survivors are left with permanent disabilities which may be compounded by poverty. In addition to dealing with the escalating infectious diseases, maternal and child health condition...Likes: 2 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 7477 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 344 Read More
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Everyone is in a state of confusion and panic because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mere mention of its name, attack and fatality rates sends shivers down the spine and the number of infected persons keep rising by the day. This situation is putting governments and health workers on their toes all over the world, to ensure that citizens are safe from infection. Fortunately, the media houses are serving their purpose of acting as mediums for Public Health education, and the spread of information is so impressive that every Tom, Dick and Harry is seemingly in the know of this dangerous pandemic.
<... Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0 Number of Reads: 7407 Comments: 0 Export to PDF 339 Read More
Date of Publication: March 11, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to advocate for the member states to make decisive progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) by taking bold political steps at the highest level of government towards ensuring that their populations are able to access essential high-quality health services without financial hardship. Kenya is one of the foremost countries in the Africa Region who have set out to achieve UHC within the next five years. The goal to achieve UHC in Kenya is rooted in the government of Kenya identifying the UHC as one of the four priority developmental agenda during the period 2018-22.
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Disclaimer: Some of the editors of this blog are staff of the World Health Organization (WHO). However, their work on this blog and the opinion(s) expressed herein do not represent that of WHO. Similarly, except otherwise explicitly stated, opinions expressed in any article are solely that of the authors and do not represent their organizations or that of the editors.