What social factors contribute to the tragic state of health care in Africa?
Focusing on East African societies, this book is the first to investigate what role religion plays in health care in African cultures. Taking into account the geopolitical and economic environments of the region, the authors examine the roles played by individual and group beliefs, government policies, and pressure from the Millennium Development Goals in affecting health outcomes.
Informed by existing related studies, and on-the-ground interviews with individuals and organizations in Uganda, Mozambique and Ethiopia, this interdisciplinary book will form an invaluable resource for scholars seeking to better understand the links between society, multi-level state instruments, and health care in East Africa.
It is estimated that populations in Africa are afflicted with 24% of the global load of disease with only 13% of the population. This chapter provides theoretical suggestions for studying why this is so. Among these theories are area studies, Africa studies and the World Health Organization’s Social Determinants of Health Framework, which relates social inequality to the study of political and health-providing institutions. The chapter lays out the book’s three case studies and our look at the role of national and international health and secular ngo’s in helping to remedy gendered health inequalities. It lays out the MDG framework of 2000, to be discussed in succeeding chapters.
This chapter focuses on health services and religion in the African context, providing a foundation for the case studies of Uganda, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. The chapter reviews previously identified patterns regarding the role of religion in health within Africa. The nexus of religion and health care is of central interest. Background knowledge is gleaned from the literature on the intersection of religion, health, and Africa. Patterns are identified and subsequently to evaluated by the new evidence obtained through qualitative and quantitative research, confirming that health care is regarded in a holistic way by Africans. This informs theorizing from the perspective of the Social Determinants of Health, within which an emphasis on women’s health is applied to processes and outcomes.
This chapter describes and analyzes how religion affects the provision and consumption of health services in Uganda. This is addressed by examining the political, economic, health, and religious contexts of the Uganda, reviewing existing research on religion and health care in Uganda, and presenting the results of interviews conducted by researchers. Interview material is organized into subsections corresponding to the general importance of religion, religion and health provision, religion and health-seeking behaviour, traditional and spiritual healing, and an evaluation of the role of religion in health care. This chapter also focuses on outcomes, evaluating evidence about religious determinants of health in terms of processes (conveyed by interviewees) and outcomes (in the context of the Millennium Development Goals).
This chapter examines religion and health care in Mozambique. The two basic questions are (1) “How does religion factor into the Social Determinants of Health?”; and (2) “What is its connection to outcomes?” The political, economic, health, and religious contexts of Mozambique are reviewed. The country is challenged by persistent poverty and underdevelopment. Mozambique had a Marxist government that suppressed religion. Religion nonetheless influences health care quite significantly in contemporary Mozambique. Christian and Muslim Faith-Based Organizations play an important role in fighting HIV/AIDS and the provision of health care in general. Pentecostalism is rising and plays a controversial role in its engagement with modern medicine. People often seek traditional health care and even combine such visits with more Western-style treatments from health centers and hospitals.
This chapter focuses on religion and health in Ethiopia. The two basic questions motivating this study are answered through the research of this chapter: “What is the role of religion in the Social Determinants of Health?”; and “How is it connected to outcomes?” The political, economic, health, and religious contexts of Ethiopia are reviewed. Ethiopia is an ancient and significantly rural state that by African standards is relatively poor. Religion plays an essential role in Ethiopia with regard to both the provision and seeking of health care. Ethiopians convey a holistic view of health, in place for a very long time. Traditional healing continues to be important; even those who believe in modern medicine may begin their process of health-seeking with that option.
The chapter summarizes our findings about the roles of national health systems and ngo’s as well as the international ones in addressing health concerns in the three countries under study. Since many of the health-care issues discussed have been specifically gendered, we look at the opening provided to both faith-based and secular ngo’s under the MDG framework since 2000. We posit future areas of research affecting the interaction of secular and faith-based health providers in Africa.
This chapter concludes the study of the role of religion in health-care processes and outcomes. The results of Uganda, Mozambique, and Ethiopia underscore the critical importance of religion concerning the provision and consumption of health care. Results affirm the frame of reference offered by the Social Determinants of Health about processes. Faith-inspired organizations are important, even essential, in health care. Health seeking behaviour is impacted upon by a holistic mindset that views physical and mental health as intertwined. Africans thus pursue health care in a rational way, with an openness to and even preference for faith-based provision. A review of gendered health outcomes, centered around the Millennium Development Goals, reveals clear progress in meeting goals.