What is holding Africa healthcare back?
By Ayo Bamgboye:
The notion that Africa is a poor continent is relative. This is based on the vast waste that we witness across the continent on war, elephant projects that are predestined or planned to fail and blatant cases of corruption. It pains or more hurting to see the development of the medical liaison businesses sprouting up especially in Nigeria. The healthcare set up is been molested and violated with constant shipments of the sick abroad for treatment.
The cost of travelling abroad can help developed an already existing medical centre in a village or town. In addition, the medical personnel being abandoned in Africa to go to India or Europe are sometimes more qualified than the ones who are going to diagnose or treat them when they go abroad for treatment. These are some of the congenial issues posting dark cloud on Africa healthcare landscape. However, the main issue would be the inaptitude of the medical professionals to development of their profession. They are waiting for governments to create a sort of Eldorado and present it to them to excel.
Lack of basic technology to practice, develop or enhance patient care delivery is no longer the issue in Africa healthcare. The main issue is the lack of will to use these technologies. Most doctors in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya etc, either owns or can afford a laptop, smartphone, or a tablet. What is required is the joint effort of a few to agree for a specific need to meet and work towards achieving it. As easy as this may sound it could be a herculean task where in-fighting are norm in most medical associations. Instead of look at how there profession could be harnessed with numerous opportunities which technology has provided they are more focussed at opening their medical practices with backward and cumbersome practices to make patient care more complicated to exhort money from patients by creating erroneous care pathway. For example, it cost money to register as patient, it cost money to get appointment card, it cost money to get patient record file, it cost money to get prescription etc.
Another issue in Africa healthcare is the government, but this does not seem to be the biggest issue. In most developed countries, medical professionals or healthcare practitioners come up with the ideas and concepts. Then, government are engaged to provide regulations to ensure that patient can access save and regulated healthcare. African governments are used to the idea that healthcare practitioners will always to take whatever they are given. As long as their salaries are not touched or forbid them to open more and more sub-standard medical practices, knowing fully well they lead the innovation and no one else does.
Healthcare professionals in Africa must start taking imitative to meet their own needs. Now, there are many mobile applications can make medical diagnoses easier or support decision-making processes. iPad and tablets used for You-tube could be deployed in capturing data that could be used in patient consultations. Smartphones can be used to share images for peer review. Precisely, there should be fewer excuses for healthcare in Africa to remain the way it was.