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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Health Care in Twentieth Century Africa: Statistics, Theories, and Practices
Author:Fetter, Bruce S.
Periodical:Africa Today
Period:3rd Quarter
Geographic term:Africa
health policy
Health and Nutrition
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4186918
Abstract:This paper examines the changing nature of African health care in the 20th century, as the technology of prolonging life was gradually and evenly introduced to the continent. It discusses various policies intended to reduce mortality levels and theories designed to account for them. Infant mortality is used as a mortality indicator. Despite some improvements in privileged regions, national infant mortality rates in Africa - and mortality rates generally - had not, in 1960, reached the levels existing in England 50 years earlier. An examination of colonial policies to reduce mortality shows that the health of African populations at the end of colonial rule was the result neither of irresistible forces nor of comprehensive policies. In the years since 1960, life expectancy has increased in most African countries, but the causes for that improvement are still hotly debated. Most scholars, however, agree on two substantial trends. One concerns continuing inequities in the distribution of health care. The other concerns timing: during the 1960s and early 1970s, mortality declined and many African nations prospered. These improvements continued from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and were largely due to the enormous range of foreign donors. Prospects for increasing funds for African health care, in the short term, are now dim. The two major sources of income, export earnings and foreign aid, seem unlikely to rise in the near future. Ref.