FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Aiding Africa

I started traveling to Africa on health-related missions at the beginning of the 1980s. And from the beginning Africa caught my interest, and my imagination. It is, after all, the continent where my father was born, when my Lebanese grandfather went to work providing food to miners in Transvaal. That I went on public health missions was a big advantage since it allowed me to go to places and see situations that no tourist normally sees.

I realized that there are two Africas: one normally portrayed in the media, a land of poverty, disease and war. And another Africa: a vital, energetic continent of hard working men and women, a continent of beautiful children and young men and young women, a continent of humor and a continent of hope. Today, six of the ten fastest economies in the world are in Africa.

Despite some progress, however, some important problems remain, such as unemployment, particularly among the young. It is estimated that 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30, and that 60 percent of the unemployed are also young people. New policies should be developed to incorporate them into the labor force.

To do that, it is important to provide them with the basic skills that would allow them to live up to their earning potential. UNESCO and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have recommended that governments, international donors and the private sector develop integrated policies to create jobs for young people and ease the transition from school to work.

In the health area, although considerable progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS (South Africa will become the first African country to fully manage its HIV care and treatment program in a few years) other challenges remain. HIV/AIDS, however, is not the only concern.

South Africa has the highest tuberculosis death rate per capita worldwide, followed by Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The situation is worsened by the high number of cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR) in several countries. In addition, diarrheal and respiratory infections, malaria, measles and malnutrition represent big threats to children’s health. Malaria is the leading cause of death among children under five years old.

The continuing exodus of physicians and nurses to industrialized countries makes health problems even worse. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 23,000 health care workers leave Africa annually. Malawi, a country of 15.38 million people, has a severe shortage of doctors and nurses. There is only one doctor for every 40,000 people in the country, according to WHO.

Health problems in Africa cannot be considered in isolation, and still require foreign technical and financial assistance. More efforts need to be made to increase access to primary health care, especially in rural areas, accompanied by health promotion, disease prevention and improved health education activities.

To be effective, however, aid must bypass corrupt governments and find ways of helping people in more direct ways. As writer Paul Theroux, who has travelled extensively in several African countries stated, “I would not send private money to a charity, or foreign aid to a government, unless every dollar was accounted for. Dumping more money in the same old way is not only wasteful, but stupid and harmful.”

Aid to Africa should be aimed at strengthening civil society and community-based organizations. African governments need to provide education for all age levels, and they need better trade conditions for their products. They need financial assistance given in a carefully planned and responsible way.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 25, 2020
Michael Hudson
The Democrats’ Quandary: In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give
Paul Street
The “Liberal” Media’s Propaganda War on Bernie Sanders
Sheldon Richman
The Non-Intervention Principle
Nicholas Levis
The Real Meaning of Red Scare 3.0
John Feffer
Cleaning Up Trump’s Global Mess
David Swanson
How Are We Going to Pay for Saving Trillions of Dollars?
Ralph Nader
Three Major News Stories That Need To Be Exposed
John Eskow
What Will You Do If the Democrats Steal It from Sanders?
Dean Baker
What If Buttigieg Said That He Doesn’t Accept the “Fashionable” View That Climate Change is a Problem?
Jack Rasmus
The Nevada Caucus and the Desperation of Democrat Elites
Howard Lisnoff
The Powerful Are Going After Jane Fonda Again
Binoy Kampmark
Viral Losses: Australian Universities, Coronavirus and Greed
John W. Whitehead
Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn Schools into Prisons
Marshall Sahlins
David Brooks, Public Intellectual
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail