The African Regional Health Report 2014 - The health of the people: what works

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ISBN: 978 929 023 261 2 (NLM Classification: WA 541 HA1)

""We have distilled what we have learned from examining what has worked in Africa … It is hoped that countries will take up the challenges of implementation or scale-up of proven effective interventions through strong health systems to move towards universal health coverage."
Dr Luís Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa"

Africa has a young and rapidly growing population. Currently the second most populated continent in the world with over 1 billion people, it may host 4 billion people by the end of the century, more than one third of humanity. Sub-Saharan Africa’s real gross domestic product growth improved from 2.9% in 2001 to a maximum of 7.1% in 2007 and is projected to be about 5.4% in 2014. Fuelled by rapid urbanization and the consumption of a new and burgeoning middle class, this economic growth is largely endogenous and expected to last.

This 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 Africa. Often referred to as “Africa rising”, this new view sees Africa as becoming an increasingly important demographic and economic driver of global growth. This is beginning to change the standard view of Africa as a place plagued by poverty, interminable conflict and incurable health problems.

This report provides an assessment of the current status and trends in health in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, which consists of 47 of the 54 countries on the African continent and is one of the six regions of WHO.

This report aims to go further than simply establishing the health status of the Region: the purpose of looking at data about health is to identify what can be – and has already successfully been – done to improve health, and what strategies and approaches have been shown to work.