News / Africa

Gabon Government Improves Public Access to Healthcare

Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.
Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Infectious diseases specialist, Doctor Jean Paul Gonzalez, who is director general of the International Center for Medical Research of Franceville, (CIRMF)

Peter Clottey
This is Part Three of a six-part series on Gabon
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

 

In Gabon, the government says it has begun building new medical facilities to make sure all citizens have access to quality health care.

Besides building the Angondje Cancer Institute in the capital, Libreville, the government said it is restructuring public hospitals and establishing university hospitals specializing in surgery, maternal and child health, orthopedics and trauma treatment.

The World Health Organization reports HIV/AIDS and malaria are “leading causes of disease burden” in Gabon, followed by premature and low birth weight infants and tuberculosis.

WHO said Gabon spends about $650 per capita each year on health care, a figure that is far below the $1,300 per capita in neighboring Equatorial Guinea, but well above the $122 in Cameroon and $126 for the Republic of Congo.

The average life expectancy in Gabon is 62 years and ranges from five to 11 years higher than its closest neighbors.

Infectious disease specialist, Doctor Jean Paul Gonzalez, director general of the International Center for Medical Research of Franceville, (CIRMF) said the organization is backing the government’s objectives.

“We are always following the demand of the public health system. We were in the field for HIV [research] in the beginning so we know more about HIV and the people being treated here in Gabon,” said Gonzalez. He added, “We are following infected people so we understand how to adjust their treatment. For Ebola, we are the [research] leader, so now the healthcare system knows how to handle … an epidemic of Ebola.”

CIRMF’s research findings and training, he said, provide critical information to doctors in Gabon to treat infectious diseases. The center is funded mostly by the government, with additional support from USAID and others.

WHO said Gabon’s leading noncommunicable conditions are neuropsychiatric conditions, which include addictions, eating disorders and degenerative diseases, followed cardiovascular disease and disorders or illnesses affecting the eyes, ears, skin, etc.

Though some experts have faulted Gabon’s health care, especially in rural areas, Gonzales says programs are underway to improve the situation.
 “We train Gabon doctoral students to be future leaders in medical research here and abroad,” said Gonzalez. “The fallout of our research directly applies to the medical system and training the people to excellence to solve problems here in Gabon.”

Gabon’s First Lady Sylvia Bongo Ondimba has also called for personal responsibility regarding healthcare. Regarding AIDS, she is quoted on her foundation’s website as saying, “Each person, at his or her respective level, must be accountable for his or her actions and think of the wellbeing of our communities, of collective health.”

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More