In many African countries, healthcare in rural areas is almost inexistent. There is a low number of community health centers (CHC) and providers; all healthcare services are offered in big hospitals located in the cities. This unfortunate reality places rural communities in serious disadvantage for two reasons: first, they cannot afford the pricey hospital care; second, hospitals are far away. In Lupatapata district, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, out of every 100 births, 20 babies die before their first birthday, an unfortunate statistic that is more than ten times higher than in the U.S. The district’s physician – patient ratio of 1: 125,000 and the lack of good roads and good transportation to the nearest hospital further exacerbates the situation. At the onset of emergency medical cases, such as an impromptu pregnancy delivery, the people have no option but to resort in midwifery and traditional medicine services. Thus, there is a need to increase the number of affordable CHC to not just facilitate access to care but to offer basic primary care to the local underserved rural communities. That way, a transfer to big hospitals will only be done if needed.
Maternal and childcare suffer the most as a result of this broken health system. Due to a strong patriarchy system in many African countries, men can easily find a job. Women, however, are not evaluated based on their intellect but based on the benefit their physical beauty can bring to the company. As a result, most cannot afford basic needs such as healthcare. Children too are drastically affected by the same catastrophe. In Africa, there are currently over 400 million children. Less than 30% have constant access to adequate healthcare because of various reasons, the main one being poverty. This disparity, though alarming, can be resolved if each African country recognizes that healthcare is a human right and establishes local National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with a constant and reliable governmental source of funding to give these people access to proper health care free of charge.
All the above injustices within the African healthcare system motivated Tshibambe, our Founder & CEO, to start a non-profit health organization called: Bonsomi Healthcare Foundation in 2012, to make access to proper care a reality for the underserved communities, mainly women and children living in rural areas.