Short life expectancy in Africa – Alarmi

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Short life expectancy in Africa –alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa –alarming Dr. H. Kwame Afaglo ©2009

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Of grave concern in Africa is the comparatively low life expectancies of the people living and working on the continent excluding the people of North Africa, and its ramifications on economic development. Longevity of human and industries are pre-requisite for optimization of resources, wealth creation, advancement and the alleviation of poverty from a naturally endowed continent as Africa.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming ‘Obituary – Mr. & Mrs. African (1955 – 2009) May his soul rest in peace’ Now and again, one hears the death of a middle-aged individual in Africa with sorrow. The situation sounds simplistic but its ramifications are far reaching and it is the major militating factor against the catalytic economic progression of Africa.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Death rate One thousand five hundred and fifty-one (1,551.37 est.) people died every hour in Africa for the year 2008 as recorded by worldfactbook, of which is significant and deplorable. It can be argued that the birth rate is higher, making that of the death rate unimportant. This view is a pro-death perception, which is converse to growth and developmental models. A look at economic growth and death rate of various economies is illustrated on the next slide.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Fig. 1 Data sourced from World Bank and worldfactbook 2007 & 2008

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Inferring from the schematics (fig.1) the following conclusions can be draw; GNI and life expectancy are positively correlated. The higher the life expectancy, the higher the wealth of that economy. GNI and death rates are also negatively correlated. In other words, the higher the death rate the lower the wealth of economy. Africa’s low wealth (GNI) is partly and significantly attributable to high death rate and its associated low life expectancy.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming African states with death rate lower than that of USA (United States of America) of which serves as learning reference points to the rest of the states are; (North Africa -Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco), (West Africa – Cape Verde) and (Southern Africa – Mauritius). These states equally have an appreciable life expectancies of at least seventy (70) years. Appreciable life expectancy is defined as the economic beneficial life span of an individual, i.e. from birth to generativity.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Economic age categorisation Dependent ages (birth – 17years) – People in these ages depend on both parents and state support systems (which is minimal in some states) for effective learning. State expenditure in training people within these ages is essential for human capital base of development. Theoretically, the higher the quality of training (intellectual and skill based), the higher the Human development and consequently the wealth generation, maintenance and growth.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming African states must re-design their training programmes to grow their states and not the current ‘manpower feeder’ systems for developed economies. This is evident in the low Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of all African states on the World Health Organisation database. Interestingly, the earlier mentioned (Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Cape Verde and Mauritius)African states with high life expectancies also are better ranked on the HDI than those with low life expectancies.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming State expenditure on educating the young must be understood as an investment that would yield returns in working life. Economically pathetic is the recorded high infant mortality rate. Mathematically, about a quarter of the deaths in Africa are people from birth to 14 years, with Uganda, Niger, Mali, Congo D.R. and Chad noted an unacceptable infant mortality rates from 46.7 to 50 per cent. A state in which half the deaths are dependents, seriously etches away the national coffers, abhors wealth creation and promotes poverty.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Working Life (18 – 65)years – This is the economically active period and the national aim here is ‘pay back and plough back time’. Simply workers pay back the state through taxes and state re-invest returns in social amenities. States should generate revenue from trained citizens who are working either home or abroad through taxes (income, corporate, housing, VAT, taxes etc.). Because Africa’s educational system is pro-western, it encourages brain drain, of which is a major set back to the economic growth of the continent. Intriguingly, educating a large number

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Africans has turn to be a loss of national investment, since most Africans who were trained from primary to university on state funding, upon completion have re-locate to work abroad (Western countries) where they escape the ‘pay back and plough back’ concept. Although, there are other factors to Africa’s low life expectancy, this write-up is concentrated on only health. Hence the focus on migrated health professions out of Africa after state funded training is commonplace but its effect is sensitive. A study by Clemens, M. and Pettersson, G. emphasized the percentage of migrated African trained physicians to the West as 19 per cent and nurses at 8 per cent, in year 2000. States with high levels of migrated physicians

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming out of Africa are shown in the scheme below; Fig. 2 Sourced from: Centre for Global Development

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming That of migrated African nurses to the West is: Fig. 3. Sourced from Centre for Global Development Unfortunately, the number of migrated trained African health professionals is been on the ascendence since year 2000.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming The effect of migrated African trained health professionals is observed in the ratio of physician to population. For year 2004, Africa recorded a ratio of 13 physicians to 100,000 population, in 2006 it did improve to 27 physicians to 100,000 population. Despite the improvement in the physician-populace ratio of Africa between 2004 and 2006 it is still comparatively below developed economies. For year 2004, UK recorded 164 physicians to 100,000 population whiles USA was 279:100,000

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming The inadequacy of health professionals on the continent of Africa is directly responsible for the high infant mortality rate, low life expectancy and low level of wealth. Life expectancy in Africa is 54 years, which is mid-life and fallen short of the recommended maximum age of ‘pay back – plough back time’ (65 years). Inasmuch as African trained health practitioners have been lambasted as unpatriotic citizens, the migration perception among professionals is high, so it is proper to seek the underlining causes.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Reasons for African health practitioners migration Attractions abroad factors Better conditions of service. Technologically advanced equipments for working. Major research centres located in the West. Enhanced opportunities for further studies. Improved standard of living.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Repelling home conditions Inability of salaries to meet monthly average demands. Performance is not adequately rewarded. ‘state pretend to pay – workers pretend to work’. Reasons for the return of African health professionals ‘sankofa’ Higher positive self regard. Higher status. Not subject to immigration regulations. Improving conditions of service. Improved political conditions.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Much as working conditions are improving though still below expectations, a slow increase in medical school intakes and specialist colleges openings. These are encouraging for migrated African trained health professional to return for their individual benefits and the state gaining from the ‘pay back – plough back’ concept. This issue would be looked up again under recommendations.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Contributive age (+65 year) – The two (2) groups of aged people are those who can still work (either as employees on contract or employers) and those entirely dependent on pension schemes or family guarantee. The economic interest for the state is to tease the wisdom of the aged to be impacted into the youth. Further, African state must facilitate the aged citizens to be entrepreneurial, instead of attempting to extend retirement age. This way, besides generativity the aged would continue to boost national treasury.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Due to the low life expectancy in Africa (52 - 54 years) a good number of people do not live to old age, hence states are losing from the valuable economic contributions from the aged. For the year 2008, none of the Africa states (3.4% average) have an aged survival rate matching economies as: Japan (22.2%), EU (17.34%), US (12.8%) or China (8.4%). Invariable, Africa must design programmes for setting up of immediate retired workers in private enterprises, so as to benefit from their invaluable experience and returns (tax). Secondly, but basically improve the health system of all its citizens.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Recommendations With the foresight of ensuring people living in Africa have good health leading to longer life, the following recommendations are based solely on health as the crucial force, besides politico-economic conditions. Health system Significant increase in state funding of health system. African states health expenditure as percentage of their GDP should benchmark that of USA’s 2008 as 13.5% of GDP. Currently none of the African states is spending that high proportion.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming b. African Union should set set-up a permanent health division (not the current political oriented, health ministers of member states) that would be responsible for formulating policies, monitoring and evaluating health care in all member states. This must be immediate and their mandate should supersede political roles (member state health minister’s) on the African Union. This body must be less desk-based and more of field-based with the task of ensuring all people living on the continent of Africa have access to health care, irrespective of one’s inability to pay, proximity to health post, gender and ethnicity.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming African Union needs to consider liaising with private entrepreneurs especially African trained health professionals to setting up more and more health posts and clinics in all member states. Every African state must build at least five new super-hospitals from an initiative of the African Union health division, with funds to be generated from floated shares on all major stock markets globally. The seed monetary source could be Africans living and working outside the continent. Every state must implement mobile clinics to all remote areas on daily bases as a short-term measure.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming State tax exemptions could be considered for private health centres according to location. The more remotely sited an approved private clinic the higher the tax exemption. g. State and African Union financial and logistical supports must give priority to remotely approved private health centres or clinics.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming States must aim at encouraging health care tourism. Meaning with the implemented private and African Union funded super-hospitals, clients must be attracted globally and fees be charged at competitive rates in return for international services. This would serve as a source of revenue. African states need to consider implementing health insurance scheme of the type of United Kingdom’s and other much improved schemes.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming j. Within a year (2010) the division of health of African Union must come out with standards of measure and approving traditional and alternative medicine providers plying their trade on the continent of Africa. Prior to a traditional or alternative medicine practitioner’s approval and issuance of a practising licence (at a reasonable fee) by African Union health division, s/he must be given short practical courses in basics of health care and its administration. The concept is simple, to facilitate the integration of the ever increase usage of tradition and alternative medicine on the continent into main stream health care.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Health professionals Much as attracting foreign based African trained health professionals back home is necessary, the focus should be on improving the conditions of service for home based professionals. State health professionals (medical doctors, nurses, pharmacist, health care assistants, etc.) should be paid by virtue of the number of patients or clients they attend to and not the current flat based salaries irrespective of how many hours worked.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming l. African and Western leaders must consider devising a foreign worker tax system to be levied on all African trained (university graduates) who are working in Western countries by host countries tax houses and handed to the respective countries of origin on periodic bases. This would make up for the ‘pay back, plough back time’ investment by African governments in training their nationals. It would also serve the purpose of raising foreign reserves for stabilizing the strength of local currencies. m. The super-hospitals are to add up to existing training centres for health professionals (entry level and specialisation).

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Conclusion With a sensitive issue as early death threatening the bases of existence of Africans, the onus is more on Africans and their descendants to reverse the regression for longer life by addressing the fundamental issues as health care and food supply. Should Africa continue to dance to the tune of Bretton-Wood institutions with their gargantuan economic theories and terminologies (SAP, PAMSCAD, Millennium Development Goals –MDA 2015, etc) at the expense of redressing its fundament existence, then GOD save us from poverty as planned by United Nations (UN) – Millennium Development Goals MDG 2015 programme.

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Thank you

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming : 

Short life expectancy in Africa - alarming Reference Clemens, M and Pettersson, G (2006) New data on African health professionals abroad Available from http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/9267 [Accessed on 24 December 2009] Hagopian, A. et al (2004) The migration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States of America: measures of the African brain drain Available from http://www.human-resources-health.com/content/2/1/17 [Accessed on 19 December 2009] The World Factbook (2009) Available from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ [Accessed on 24 December 2009] World health Statistics (2006) Doctor – Patient ratio in Africa Available from http://www.africapedia.com/wiki/index.php?page=DOCTOR-%20PATIENT%20RATIO%20IN%20AFRICA [Accessed on 19 December 2009]

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