Despite gains, barriers keep health care high on Africa’s priority list

by Daniel Armah-Attoh, Edem Selormey, and Richard Houessou
Afrobarometer Policy Paper No. 31, April 2016

26 pp. 1.0
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In Afrobarometer surveys across 36 African countries in 2014/2015, citizens rank health as the second-most-important problem (after unemployment) that their governments need to address, as well as the No. 2 priority (after education) requiring additional government investment. While the proportion of Africans going without needed health care has decreased over the past decade, citizens’ perceptions highlight some of the challenges that still stand between current reality and “health for all,” including:

  • In many areas, a continued absence of basic health-care facilities
  • Shortages of needed medical care experienced by almost half of all Africans
  • Widespread difficulties encountered in obtaining care, sometimes compelling patients to pay bribes
  • Poor government performance, according to citizen ratings, in improving basic health services
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