Women are the backbone of health care services in Africa and need the community’s support
13-03-2023 05:45:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 798 | Tags:

Most of us will remember how we were taken care of by our mothers, sisters, female neighbors or some other female caretaker when we were hurt or in pain when we were small.

Nothing much has changed, and we see that women remain the backbone in all areas of healthcare, be it schools, clinics, hospitals and of course in the home, all of which impacts the life of the community in Africa.  But some things have changed, EasyBet Casino is available in English now for your relax at home moments!

The role of women was clear to see with the outbreak of Ebola and then again with the Covid 19 pandemic.   It showed how much the role of women is central to the way in which health care is delivered all across Africa.   Traditionally women in Africa have always been there in times of need using their skills and abilities to help those in need.

Women in the driving seat

In every sphere of service, from doctors to nurses to social workers and community workers, women in Africa have served the community led from the back as well as from the front. They are using the knowledge that they have learned from their homes to serve others and, at the same time, using the power they have acquired in many instances as community leaders to bring about reforms.

There have been many examples where it is a woman who has come to the rescue in spite of the many difficulties they faced.   For example, the late Dr. Ameya Stella Adadevoh who literally risked her own life in 2014 whilst dealing with Ebola epidemic in Nigeria.

Then of course there is the former president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who also played a major role at the time of the outbreak and formalized a task force to deal with the virus and making sure that the situation was being handled properly.  Her leadership qualities ensured that the crisis was handled on every level of the community.

We saw again with the Covid-19 pandemic the huge numbers of female nurses and other health workers who put themselves on the front line in order to help others in need during the pandemic that was spreading all over Africa.

It is plain to see that if not for women and their commitment to health care, Africa would look as it does today.  However, they receive little support and appreciation for their never- ending commitment.  It is time they were rewarded for their contribution.

Women need support

Many structural weaknesses became apparent in the health care system during the Covid-19 pandemic.   Now that we are passed the crisis it is time to deal with these issues in order to prevent the entire collapse of the care system which will detrimentally affect the lives of millions of people.  The first issue to be addressed must be the working conditions of women in every sphere of the health care system.

During the pandemic women found themselves in an untenable situation, having to deal with an increased professional load and at the same time having to deal with the increasing demands, including financial ones, for their own families.

They put themselves at risk while providing care services.  Figures produced at the end of 2021 revealed that about 27% of African health care workers had actually been fully vaccinated against the virus.   A later survey showed that not even 50% of those working in health care had received all the vaccines.

Women, many of them health care workers had the added burden of having to deal with the rise in domestic violence that occurred during the pandemic which added to their vulnerability.

It is crucial that we find ways to support and strengthen women working in the health care system and in so doing, strengthening the care system itself.   It is important to look into how the system is run, making sure that it is inclusive and equitable.

In order to do this it is important to initiate policies that are equitable, and that promise to give a more balanced work-life pattern, better wages and to offer skill developing programs for women working in the health care system, no matter at which level. Those in government must see that it is essential to support these women on every level, including making sure that the practice of hiring is a fair one and that women will have all the opportunities available to them.

The private sector also has a role to play in the formulating of such policies.  It has much to contribute by way of bringing in new skills and showing new ways of working.

Women leaders in African health care contribute hugely to the way in which the healthy industry functions, helping to promote better work conditions.

We all hope that there won’t be another pandemic but, if and when it comes, we will see how prepared the health system shows itself to be.  That will depend on how “inclusive, fair and equitable” it has become and how the cooperation between the public and private sectors manages to play out.

Women will always be there.  “They are here, from cradle to grave. They are the first to respond, care and heal in times of crisis.  They are there when antenatal care is needed, they are there when end of life care is needed – and they are there any time in between.”