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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid