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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs