Equatorial Guinea’s minister of health and social welfare has denied reports the government has failed to invest in the healthcare of its people despite the country’s enormous oil wealth.
Francisco Pascual Obama Asue said the government is working closely with the World Health Organization and putting up health infrastructure as well as implementing a host of health programs geared towards improving the health of Equatorial Guineans.
“The first investment began in 1996 and since then the government started investing in hospitals and other health centers. In Bata on (the coast), a very modern hospital was built called Lapaz and it’s actually has all the modern technologies and is staffed by Israeli doctors. There also a number of health centers under construction,” he said.
Critics say prevalent alcoholism among the country’s youth as well as their preference for unproven traditional self-medication and the government’s failure to invest in healthcare have contributed to the poor health of Equatorial Guineans.
But, Minister Obama Asue said the government has adopted the recent WHO resolutions as part of the administration’s efforts to improve public health for its peoples.
“The government has been working hard to improve public health for its citizens in projects such as a malaria program, reproductive program with the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), cholera and measles vaccination campaign, social development fund, and new hospitals”
Equatorial Guinea recently hosted WHO regional committee meeting in the capital, Malabo.
The meeting resolved, among others to 1) Establish an African Fund for Public Health Emergencies. 2) Address major determinants of health. 3. Reduce harmful use of alcohol, by which calls on member states to develop and strengthen national policies and international evidence-based to adopt and implement regulations and legislation to create public awareness damage from alcohol. 4) Use cyber health in the African region, which requires member states to promote political commitment and awareness in this area. 5) Strengthen routine immunization activities for polio eradication in the African region.
Minister Obama Asue said the government has taken measures to curb the abuse of alcoholism among the youth.
“The government has issued a law forbidding the consumption or sale of alcohol to minors that is those under the age of 18 years old. The government has put in place an increase in the tax in the importation of alcohol into the country. And the government is working with the World Health Organization to receive technical assistance to develop and design new policies on the abuse of alcohol and how to prevent it.”