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Healthcare: SSA spends $8.4bn each year to tackle HAIs, Study Finds

Monday, 08 April 2024 14:06
Healthcare: SSA spends $8.4bn each year to tackle HAIs, Study Finds

(Ecofin Agency) - Sub-Saharan Africa spends $8.4 billion each year to fight infections acquired within healthcare facilities, according to a comprehensive study published on April 7 by the global NGO WaterAid and the World Bank. This significant financial burden equates to an average of 4.5% of the region’s annual health budget, the study conducted in Nigeria, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, Mali, and Ghana finds.

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Titled "Counting the Cost of Healthcare-Acquired Infections in Sub-Saharan Africa," it highlights the lack of cleanliness and hygiene measures during medical care and recovery phases as the main factors contributing to the prevalence of these infections. HAIs, including sepsis and pneumonia, are not only a major financial strain but also lead to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths each year in the region. The research raises alarms over the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, which exacerbates the impact of these infections and is linked to nearly five million global deaths a year. 

The highest rates of infection were recorded in intensive care units, neonatal services, and pediatric wards, the report said. Malawi emerges as the most severely affected, allocating an average of 2.9% of its GDP and 10.9% of its annual health budget to the treatment and management of HAIs.

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The study suggests that up to half of the deaths related to HAIs in Sub-Saharan Africa could be preventable with better access to handwashing facilities, clean water, and adequate sanitation. This finding not only underscores the critical need for enhanced hygiene practices in healthcare settings but also highlights a straightforward and effective path toward reducing both the human and financial costs of healthcare-acquired infections in the region.

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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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