Around six decades ago, 290 in every 1,000 children didn’t live to celebrate their fifth birthday in developing countries. Since then, the situation has been gradually improving, and currently in countries where income is low, in every 1,000 children 118 die before the age of five, while in middle income families this number is 57. Although this is a great improvement, these death rates among children are still sad and scary. This commonly happens due to health systems which are yet to improve in developing countries.
If changes were made towards improving health care systems, over 8 million children who die prematurely due to preventable diseases could be saved.
Most of these countries are African, with one exception.
Consisting of 36 states in West Africa, Nigeria is the most populated African country where life expectancy is around 52.3 years, and it continues decreasing due to severe poverty as well as the lack of health care professionals who are looking to practice their profession in some other country where they will actually be paid for their service.
As there is a serious case of ‘Brain Drain’ – doctors and other medical experts leaving the country – there aren’t enough experts to treat those in need. Infants fall into that group, as around 20% of children die before their fifth birthday.
This naturally beautiful and hospitable country is heaven if you’re going there on vacation. But the 15 million people who live there have a life expectancy of around 54.8 years on average due to numerous infectious diseases, including HIV which is the greatest concern in this country. Each year, around 68 thousand people die from this virus due to the lack of proper preventive care, understaffing in hospitals and not enough finances to improve the quality of life.
3. Sierra Leone
Bordered by Guinea and Liberia, the Republic of Sierra Leone has a population of around 8 million people. This country was strongly affected by a civil war which lasted over ten years (1992-2002) and it is making strong efforts to regroup and reclaim balance.
In this country, pregnant women have the legal right to use health care services without financial charges, but the problem is that there aren’t enough hospitals or midwives to provide those services. For every 1,000 people, statistically there are around 0.002 physicians and less than 0.5 beds. The biggest issue may be the lack of clean drinking water which often causes diseases and need for medical care.
Around 60% of people in rural areas don’t have access to clean water, which is probably the cause of such a short life span of people in this country (life expectancy is around 54 years). Many people are infected with malaria, and there aren’t enough medical experts to face this problem properly. Many efforts have been made to improve the situation in this country, but Sierra Leone’s health care system remains to be one of the worst in the world.
Formerly known as Burma, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar located in Southeast Asia could be said to be the country with the smallest amount of international aid.
This country also spends the least money on its health care system among all the countries in the world. Life expectancy is around 50 years, mostly due to improper health care and not enough funds to improve it. Even though health care in Myanmar is free to all citizens, being medically treated usually means having to pay a lot of money for the people who live there, as there isn’t a stabile government to regulate the system.
Luckily, changes in government structures are happening and proper health care should soon be more accessible to all citizens.
1. Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, about 55 percent of people live below the poverty line and with less than a dollar a day to live on. Less than a quarter of the population has access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. This means that many of them are prone to diseases that come with unclean water, such as diarrhea, cholera and such.
Around 3 percent of people who contract cholera die due to lack of proper treatment. The citizens of DRC are also in great danger of malaria which is responsible for many deaths among children and adults.
Hospitals in this country are understaffed or have insufficiently skilled staff. They also lack proper equipment, and health care professionals haven’t been paid for years. Life expectancy is around 48.7 years and as the country has been struggling since the war, the situation doesn’t seem to be improving.