Africa - Health conditions
Illness and health conditions are strongly characterized by poverty, troubled
political conditions accompanied by civil wars, and by the special climatic
conditions. Child and maternal mortality rates are high, the birth rate is
similar (over three times as high as in Denmark), and the average life
expectancy is approx. 20 years shorter than the Danes.
Organized disease treatment is centered in the big cities and therefore out
of reach for large sections of the population; the primary health service is
sought to be expanded with the help of international organizations. Often, only
1% of gross domestic product is spent on health, compared to 6-7% in Denmark.
The widespread malnutrition and malnutrition forms the basis of the
starvation disease kwashiorkor and infections that occur more frequently and
have a more severe course of mortality than in our part of the world; poorer
water and sanitation conditions also contribute. Traffic accidents and illnesses
caused by alcohol and tobacco play an increasing role.
Tropical diseases malaria, carharziosis, yellow fever and sleeping sickness
are found where there is humidity and warmth. In drier areas (eg the Sahel
area), extensive epidemics of meningitis occur. Egyptian eye disease is frequent
in dry areas and often causes blindness. Respiratory tract infection, diarrhea
(cholera, dysentery and typhoid), intestinal worms, polio and infectious liver
inflammation are common infectious diseases.
The prevalence of AIDS has been increasing rapidly. In the worst affected
countries, 10-30% of young adults are infected, most often by heterosexual
transmission; HIV-infected pregnant women can pass the infection on to newborns.
Fighting is hampered by poor economy, war, drought, flooding as well as cultural
traditions and prejudice.
The threat to nature is one of the major problems in Africa. The causes must
be sought in the rising poverty and in the changes that characterized the
continent in the 1900s. According to
the population has grown and production has been
transformed from self-sufficiency to a production that includes sales and
exports to a greater extent. The population pressure has led to a shortening of
the soil's agricultural life, and the traditional nature adaptation of the
nomadic communities is threatened by modern agriculture, enclosures and
In many countries, the difficult economic situation, and in some places also
the government's development policy, has led to urban growth. This has led to
extensive slum buildings on the outskirts of most major cities. These
neighborhoods have their own environmental problems in the form of inadequate
water supply, renovation and sewerage; in combination with miserable housing
conditions, the result is high morbidity and mortality, especially among
children. Air pollution can be a major problem in the largest industrial cities
and in densely populated districts, and in most cities, wastewater is discharged
unclean with hygiene problems. In some countries, the prospect of monetary
earnings has led the government to accept environmentally hazardous waste from
Africa - infrastructure
The continent's colonial past is clearly seen in the infrastructure. Selected
areas (mines, plantation areas) in the interior of Africa are linked to a port
city, while connections between countries are often poor.
This export-oriented infrastructure is most clearly seen in the rail network,
which is completely incoherent, but it also applies to the road network, which
is of greater importance. The development of trans-African highways is a high
priority, but requires large investments. The road network is consistently
poorly developed with major capacity problems; moreover, many dirt roads are
impassable during the rainy season. The bad roads cause a great deal of wear and
tear on the means of transport, and as there is often a shortage of these, the
existing ones are overloaded, which further degrades the road network.
The port capacity is also limited, with large waiting times for the ships.
Despite some investments, including aid, only a few African ports have adequate
facilities, including container handling equipment.