News

World Conference Probes Rich-Poor Health Care Gap

A Virginia hospital
A Virginia hospital
Peter Heinlein

In an effort to close the gap in the quality of care between wealthy and poor countries, health professionals from more than 100 nations are meeting in Ethiopia. The exit of doctors and nurses seeking better-paying jobs overseas is hurting progress toward better care in developing countries.

The 13th World Congress on Public Health is focused on the opportunities, but also the threats to improving the quality of health care in less developed countries.

Ethiopian Public Health Association President Dr. Tewabech Bishaw says this gathering is one step in a long struggle that began before the 1970s  “In the '70s there was the “Health For All” slogan, and everybody was agreed and committed to achieving health for all by the year 2000. Then in 2000 we set Millennium Development Goals with those targets.

We cannot just move the goalposts over and over, but be serious about these things and address them honestly in a manner of justice,” she said.

Tewabech says among the biggest obstacles to closing the quality gap in health care is the same as in many other areas of development.  The best and brightest are being attracted by better salaries and working conditions abroad.  She says wealthy nations should be made to pay poorer countries for the loss of their top professionals who emigrate in search of a better life.

"You see a lot of these professionals are moving to developed countries, and those countries in the developing world are losing their finances that they spend through training, and then losing their human resources that would have provided for the population.  There is injustice, unfairness in this.  It is about time these nations sit around the table and look squarely at the problems and issues of services so equitable apportioning of these resources are made," she said.

Tewabech says among the most pressing priorities is closing the gap in maternal and child mortality rates, which remain alarmingly high in developing countries despite repeated health campaigns.  She said the origin of the gap can be traced to traditional attitudes in many developing countries that favor boys over girls.

“Boys are preferred in a household, the availability of food, early marriage, and the lack of education, because if a family has a boy and a girl, and if because of circumstances they have to choose to send one to school, they will send the boy and not the girl.  So education has a lot to do with the well-being and survival of the children,” she said.

This is the second time the World Congress on Public Health has been held in Africa in its nearly 40-year history.  The event is jointly funded by several U.N and U.S. government entities, along with a host of private pharmaceutical, insurance and health-care companies.

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs