Pneumonia is the highest cause of death in children under five (5) especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It accounts for 16 % of all deaths in Africa, deadlier than Malaria. Sub-Saharan Africa carries about half of the burden of the world’s under-five deaths. Progress in the fight against pneumonia has slacked behind that of the others. Pneumonia mortality rates in children have fallen by just 50 per cent compared to an 85 per cent decline in measles deaths, and 60 per cent in deaths from malaria, AIDS and tetanus in the last 15 years. The global funding to address the burden of pneumonia in children is low and this is potentially hindering the effort to reduce the mortalities associated with the disease.
Maternal and infant mortality has reduced over the years in sub-Saharan African but it is still the highest globally. Maternal Mortality Ratio in this region was approximately 66% (201,000) with 45% decrease in Infant Mortality rate between the periods of 1990 and 2015. Women on this part of the world face 15 times the dangers of childbirth and pregnancy situations as compared to those in the developed countries, children on the other hand are more than 14 times more likely to die before attaining age 5 than children in the developed world. This is partly because of challenges of patient referral. Referral is when a health professional at a lower health facility requests that a patient should seek for healthcare services at a higher health facility. The key among other challenges in referring a patient to a higher health facility from rural communities in sub-Saharan is the means of transport. This significantly and negatively affected the achievement of Maternal and Child health outcome in spite of the good works ongoing in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the targets of the goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which is to Ensure Healthy Lives and Wellbeing for all at all ages, the issue of geographic and physical barriers to healthcare facilities should be well looked into. Government and non-governmental organizations should help in the building of health facilities in rural and deprived communities, provide ambulance services, provide adequate health officers and drugs. All these coupled with good road network would help people in these communities. Also, primary healthcare should be placed within the cultural settings of these people, so that they can embrace and easily access it to save mothers and children from preventable deaths. Finally, other sub-Saharan African countries should adopt the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound system of primary healthcare provision introduced in Ghana to help reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate drastically by 2030.
The prevalence of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa is high and it is the main driver for cardiovascular diseases in the region. Cardiovascular diseases are associated with high morbidity and mortality worldwide. The high prevalence of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) can be attributed to rural-urban migration, high salt intake, smoking of tobacco and inadequate exercise. Awareness and control of hypertension is generally low with women having better control rates as compared to men. Untreated hypertension is associated with stroke, myocardial infarction and renal failure. The management of hypertension in the sub region is a major challenge due to financial constraints and inadequate resources. Hypertension is struggling to gain priority as a major health threat as infectious diseases like Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria are the main focus of most public health institutions. Hypertension is largely preventable and can be easily controlled using evidence based practices such as regular exercises, decreasing salt intake, cessation of smoking and alcohol intake and the usage of antihypertensives. Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension are rapidly overtaking communicable diseases in the sub-Saharan region and pose a major health threat. There is a need to prioritize cardiovascular diseases with a focus on pragmatic prevention and control of hypertension in order to decrease the burden of the disease in the region.
In the year 2000, the Millenium Development Goals were the talk of many. The MDGs targeted key issues such as poverty, hunger, primary education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, environmental sustainability, and global partnership. These global goals were not sufficiently met by sub-Saharan Africa. 15 years down the line the Sustainable Development Goals have been put forward. How can sub-Saharan Africa achieve these goals.