The health of the people: what works
The African Regional Health Report 2014
This is a report on the health of the people living in the African Region of the World Health Organization. It reflects a world that has undergone dramatic changes, with Africa as a continent becoming an increasingly important demographic and economic driver of global growth. Rapid economic growth, coupled with a young, growing population, wide uptake of technology, particularly mobile phone technology, and a burgeoning middle class, has led to a new view of the Region.
This report uses a wide range of data to show that the overall health of the people living in the Region has improved considerably in the past decade. Some of this has been due to demographic and economic change and to improved political stability. But much has also been due to sustained efforts to prevent illness and maintain good health, improve access to treatment when illness does occur, and find ways to deliver a better level of health care in the African context.
Achieving health is all about understanding context: applying the right approach in the right place at the right time for the right problem in the right people. By showing what works, this report reveals the shifting paradigm from reactive, disease alleviation strategies to proactive health and development promotion approaches. Common to all these changes is the underpinning idea that health is an outcome of all policies.
But much remains to be done in the Region. While the HIV epidemic is gradually getting under control, the recent and ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak comes as a stark reminder that there is no place for complacency.