Posted on April 5, 2019
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From its inauguration in 1948, World Health Day has always been observed on 7th April. Each year, a specific theme is chosen with the view to highlight various world health issues and make a positive impact on global health as a whole. This year’s theme, Universal Health Coverage, expresses the need for everyone to have access to quality health services regardless of location or financial situation.
Celebrate World Health Day with us at ACT as we consider its significance, with respect to the work we are doing, to help keep disadvantaged women and children we support in 8 countries of Africa in good health!
World Health Organisation (WHO) is the United Nations agency that advocates for the attainment of the highest possible level of international public health. The agency believes that advancement has been made to improve global health in recent years, but it acknowledges also, and rather sadly, that “millions of people still have no access at all to health care (and) millions more are forced to choose between health care and other daily expenses such as food, clothing and even a home.” [i]
ACT accepts WHO’s acknowledgement that there is disparity when it comes to how well spread the improvement in global health has been. In the majority of rural Africa, millions of people still have no access at all to health care. Indeed most are forced to prioritise food, clothing and a roof over their heads, to health care which they find very difficult and almost impossible to access.
Health care comes as part of a package of support that ACT provides to the vulnerable children and widows we support. For instance, in Tanzania, the families we support benefit from the Community Health Fund (CHF) insurance which covers medical consultations and prescriptions. Since including this as part of our support package, we have been surprised by its impact on the beneficiaries, including fewer reported numbers falling ill and improved overall well-being of both the children and widows.
Health well-being is an important part of the community projects we carry out. Period Poverty among school girls is perhaps our most important because it disadvantages girls, particularly in rural Africa, and deters them from going to school and advancing their potentials in life. It also impacts their health and wellbeing. Our Ulemu Project which we started in 2014 in Malawi has to-date benefitted about two thousand school girls and created income generation opportunities for widows in Phalombe District, in the southern region. Find out more.
Access to water is another challenge that affects health wellbeing in rural African communities. Spread of disease and infection is rampant simply because of lack of access to water supply. WHO states that diseases as a result of poor sanitation cause 4.0% of all deaths and 5.7% of all disability and/or ill health globally?[ii] Poor sanitation causes diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Devastatingly, health costs associated with these largely preventable, waterborne diseases make up more than a third of the expenditure of poor households in sub-Saharan Africa.[iii]
Another of the community projects we carry out in Africa is providing access to water, particularly to improve sanitation and health of children and women, who constitute the most vulnerable group. Our Sitikho Water Project carried out in Sitikho, near Webuye, Western Kenya in 2016, provided clean, pipe borne water to three villages. The impact of this project include sustainable greenhouse farming project for 1300 women in the community and pipe borne water for Bukunjangabo Primary School with its more than 800 pupils and staff members. According to the school head teacher, the project has led to better health of pupils and improved sanitation at the school.
What can you do to help?
At a grass-roots level, you can sponsor one or more children to enable us continue our work of educating children, empowering women and enriching communities where we work. Many of the children on our child sponsorship programme are orphans or in a single mother home and living in poverty. As well as paying for their education, your sponsorship will go towards providing meals and ensuring the children have access to proper health care, which often is lacking. With a regular donation of £15 a month you can make a difference in the life of a vulnerable child. Please click here
Please visit our website to find out more about our work, click here.
To support our Ulemu Project, click here.
Thank you for reading and celebrating World Health Day 2019 with us!