News / Africa

    World Bank Issues Regional Health Reports

    Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.
    Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Listen to De Capua report on World Bank health studies

    Joe DeCapua
    The World Bank has released new reports outlining the health challenges facing six major regions. Those challenges include not only many types of disease, but road accidents as well. The bank says the reports will help policymakers develop evidence-based health programs after the Millennium Development Goals expire.

    The World Bank has released the reports in conjunction with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Timothy Evans is the bank’s director of Health, Nutrition and Population.

    “What we see when we look beyond the global picture is that there’s a lot of regional specificity to trends in the burden of disease. And so the regional focus just allows us more detail and attention to what’s happening in different regions of the world.”

    He said the world is too diverse to have a one-size-fits-all health plan.

    “That doesn’t work anywhere,” he said, “That doesn’t work globally. It doesn’t work regionally. It doesn’t even work within a country. So the more understanding you have of context and need the better able the system is to respond appropriately.”

    Evans outlined the ongoing health challenges for sub-Saharan Africa.

    “The big one remains communicable diseases. That relates to HIV and malaria, but also the childhood killers – diarrhea and pneumonia – being two of the biggest. And of all the regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where there are more deaths and life years lost from communicable diseases than other types of illness or injury,” he said.

    Dramatic progress has been made against malaria through insecticide treated bed nets and indoor spraying. As for HIV/AIDS, greater access to antiretroviral drugs has saved many lives. Nevertheless, the World Bank regional report says these two diseases remain major health problems.

    Road accidents are also a top killer, not only in sub-Saharan Africa, but in most of the regions studied.

    Evans said, “What we’re seeing is a dramatic surge in mortality and injury from road traffic accidents. And this is a reflection of many, many, many more vehicles on the road – great increases in vehicle ownership -- and very inadequate investments in the infrastructure related to road traffic safety.”

    The World Bank official said that the road accident fatality rates in Africa are a hundred times greater than those in the United States.

    In North Africa and the Middle East, the MENA region, the health concerns are a bit different than those in sub-Saharan Africa.

    “The large majority of the burden of disease is tied up in what we call the non-communicable diseases – the chronic illnesses -- diseases of aging and lifestyle. And so problems with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke. These are the lion’s share of the burden of disease in the MENA region,” he said.

    Much of North Africa and the Middle East has experienced and is experiencing violence and conflict. Evans says that has a direct effect on the health of populations in those countries – Syria, Libya and Egypt, for example.

    Evans said, “Health does well in conditions of security. Health is really threatened in conditions of insecurity and it relates to some of the terrible violence that you see, which is often associated with situations where the normal rule of law has been lost and there’s armed violence and other sorts of problems. But the second is that the uncertainty often leads to mass movements of people across borders [and] into territories where they’re not necessarily welcome.”

    What’s more, violence and conflict cause many skilled professionals to leave causing a brain drain.

    The World Bank has also issued health reports for other four other regions.

    In South Asia, much progress has been made regarding communicable diseases and maternal health. However, the region is hard hit by chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Child undernutrition also remains a big problem.

    East Asia and the Pacific have some of the world’s highest rates of diabetes and a high fatality rate from road accidents.

    In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank says alcohol related illnesses are a major problem, along with communicable diseases, such as HIV.

    And the Latin America and the Caribbean region is seeing an increase in ischemic heart disease or reduced blood flow to the heart, as well as big increases in depression and low back pain.

    The World Bank provides two forms of support for the regions: loans and information to help formulate health plans. The information is expected to be used to evaluate the success of the expiring Millennium Development Goals and in deciding what, if anything, will replace them after 2015.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora