Indicators of Public Health are Steadily Improving
Equatorial Guinea’s infant mortality rate has decreased from 111 in 1994 to 65 per one thousand in 2011, said the country’s Health Secretary of State, Maria del Carmen Andeme Ela. She also reported that the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care from skilled health personnel has increase from 61% in 2000 to 91.3% this year.
Secretary of State Andeme Ela recently discussed the national health system and programs available in the country at the Equatorial Guinea Economic Forum, held at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on August 8. The economic forum aimed to highlight the strategic commitment of Equatorial Guinea to economic diversification and encourage investment by American companies.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested in the country’s health sector as part of UN Millennium health goals and the country’s Horizon 2020 development plan. Secretary Andeme Ela highlighted how the country’s social-health profile are steadily improving. She said that births attended by skilled health personnel have increased from 52% in 2000 to 70% in 2014.
She also cited improvements in the country’s health infrastructure, which now includes 2 regional hospitals, 5 provincial hospitals, 11 district hospitals, 45 health centers, 2 regional centers for blood transfusions, 4 provincial centers for transfusions, 2 reference medical centers (La Paz) and 7 polyclinics (3 private), various medical offices and pharmacies throughout the country.
During her presentation, Secretary Andeme Ela also outlined the national health programs the country is currently undertaking, such as the vaccination program, the fight against malaria, programs to provide essential medications and oral healthcare, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the fight against non-infectious diseases, efforts to control tuberculosis, leprosy and trypanosomes, the fight against river blindness and filariosis, and promotion of health and reproductive health.
The number of medical and health professionals and technicians in the country is growing significantly, although the country still suffers from a lack of specialists, said Secretary Andame Ela. The Faculty of Medical Sciences at the National University of Equatorial Guinea graduates about 45 medical students and 25 nursing students each year, and the National School of Public Health and Environment graduates about 54 nurses annually. All told, the nation now has more than 300 doctors, more than 350 nurses and similar professionals, and some 2,000 trained medical assistants and technicians. She said that the country had only one Equatoguinean doctor when it gained independence in 1968.