Africa faces severe issues regarding health and water. Countless numbers of children, women and men die annually as a result of health and water issues in Africa. This occurs in increasing measures and adequate measures have to be taken to solve the health and water challenges in Africa.
Health Scenario in Africa
A lot of diseases are endemic in Africa and these diseases kill many people when not treated on time. Diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS and so forth can be found in elsewhere but some diseases are peculiar to Africa. Such diseases include sleeping sickness, elephantiasis, trachoma, leprosy, helminthiasis and so forth.
For many of these diseases, there are vaccinations available as a preventive measure but a lot of Africans cannot access them because of poverty. Malaria is said to kill one under-five African child in every 30 seconds. Lassa Fever, Bilharzia and so forth also kill a lot of people in Africa. Polio has been eradicated in different other parts of the world but not in Africa. It kills a lot of people especially in Nigeria.
Other major diseases peculiar to Africa are elephantiasis, leprosy, helminthiasis, trachoma and others. The major reasons why these diseases are still not eradicated in Africa are poverty, untrained medical staff and insufficient medical facilities. Poor hygiene and insufficiency of clean drinking water is also a major issue in Africa and contributes in the health scenario.
According to the African Union meeting of 2001 in Nigeria, African countries agreed to allocate 15 percent of their budgets to healthcare. However, till date only six countries have been able to meet this. Africa is a poor country and hence the 15% of the budget of those who have been meeting this agreement is still not enough to cater for health issues in their countries.
Water scenario in Africa
Water issue is a major issue affecting Africa. According to WHO (2006), only 16% of people in sub-Saharan Africa had access to clean drinking water through a household connection in 2004. Quantity of water seems to be valued above the quality of water. Even when drinking water is readily available, too often than not, it will be contaminated due to several reasons. Limitations in financial resources are the major reason for insufficient water supplies in Africa.
In the rural areas, people travel long distances, usually women, exposing themselves to danger just to fetch drinking water which are still contaminated in one way or the other. The best source of clean drinking water in Africa is groundwater as it is usually protected from bacterial infection. However, tapping groundwater is nearly an impossible feat in some African regions. More so, the groundwater may still be contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria as a result of leaking septic systems and contaminated wells. To avoid this, it is important to monitor groundwater frequently but the technical abilities to do this is lacking in Africa.
Health and water issues are critical in Africa. Obviously, water scenario in Africa is one of the major factors that influence health issues. This scenario is not faced by only rural areas but it is faced equally by urban centers. It is quite obvious that the rich have access to clean and cheaper water than the poor in Africa because resources allocated to those living in wealthy urban areas are greatly subsidized.