AMREF Health Africa
Many women in most African countries have been dying due to the cases of complicated deliveries as a result of absence of doctors or government employed mid-wives. These cases have been on the rise but the Africa Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) which is a non-governmental organization has put up measures to prevent these cases of deaths.
AMREF has emerged to be the best research organization implementing its projects through country programs in many countries. It also offers support and training to many countries so as to ensure that everybody the right to good health. It implements many learning projects in order to share their knowledge for health changes. AMREF has emerged to be African leader in the training of community health workers which helping in poverty eradication hence changing people’s lives.
AMREF was founded in 1957. It was founded by three surgeons as the “Flying Doctors Service of East Africa”. These three surgeons were:
- Sir Michael Wood
- Sir Archibald Mclndoe
- Tom Rees
These founders were providing medical assistance in most of the remote regions of East Africa. The three had worked as surgeons for many years and they finally decided to combine their efforts so as to fight poverty, diseases and provide adequate health services in East Africa.
During the foundation of AMREF medical facilities were sparse. This was contributed by poor roads which made it difficult for people in rural and remote areas to access health services. There was one doctor to attend to 30,000 people in East Africa. Since majority of the population lived in rural areas, the surgeons saw that an air-based service as the only way to deliver health services. They built mission hospitals and provided surgical services. They also developed medical radio network for better communication. In Kajiando and Narok districts of Kenya ground based mobile medical services were added. This happened in 1960s. Training and education for rural health workers was also conducted in 1975. Health learning materials were developed.
In 1980s, AMREF Health Africa workers in collaboration with ministers of health and co-operation with national aid agencies moved into community health development. Their main aim was to strengthen staff development and health systems paying special attention to the communities’ health needs. In 1990s, AMREF Health Africa workers expanded their work to include disease control e.g. TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria since these diseases had become a burden to must of the poor African countries. Recently, AMREF Health Africa has discovered that many Africans still have limited access to quality and sufficient health care despite huge investments by donors.
AMREF Health Africa has improved access health services by providing quality and affordable health care to those in need. Through community education AMREF Health Africa has greatly improved healthy of many communities. It ensures that the products they give to governments and African communities are sustainable and relevant. Their clinical officers have a very broad training in medicine unlike nurses and other health professional workers who only perform specific duties. Their work includes:
- Improving communities’ health- AMREF Health Africa ensures that communities lead healthy lives. AMREF mostly works with people living in urban shanties, poor neighborhoods, remote areas and areas affected by conflicts.
- Fighting diseases- AMREF Health Africa tries to find the appropriate solutions to the health needs of the local communities. They still treat almost all types of diseases.
- Training health workers- it is training many health workers in many African countries and beyond. Through this training, AMREF is strengthening many health related institutions since health services cannot be delivered without motivation, skills and sufficient health personnel. In order to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health Africa, one more million health workers are needed.
- Strengthening health systems- since health care cost is increasing everyday; many people have limited access to good health care. This mostly affects communities living in rural and remote areas. Diseases like TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria are bringing devastating effects. Therefore, AMREF Health Africa is building health facilities and improving the existing ones in those areas.
Advocacy and Research
The provision of health services alone cannot achieve long term improvements in health. Therefore, AMREF Health Africa encourages those in power to properly serve the needs of the poor. AMREF Health Africa having great experience in working in most marginalized and poor communities has learnt a great deal. Therefore, it uses this knowledge to influence, inform and advocate for changes.
Young Fabian Partnership
AMREF Health Africa entered into partnership with a special interest group known as Young Fabian Health Network. This partnership was entered in May 2013 and expired a year later.
AMREF Health Africa having done a lot of research has shown that solutions based on science can address many problems in the world. Due to its good work, AMREF Health Africa has received several awards which include:
- Gates Award for Global Health-2005
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established this award which was worth one million dollars in the year 2000. This award is given to organizations annually for having made a major and lasting contribution in the field of health.
- Medical Honors Award-2004
AMREF Health Africa having saved many lives and improved health of many people in Africa for many years, Discovered Health Channel, decided to award it the Medical Honors Award in 2004.
- Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award-1999
This humanitarian prize was established by Conrad N. Hilton in 1996. $1.5 million are awarded to any non-governmental organization which has ever made any contribution anywhere in the world to stop human suffering. This award honors tireless commitment of AMREF Health Africa to bring health care services to rural and most remote areas all over the world.
AMREF Health Africa has emerged to be the Africa’s leading health development organization offering quality health care to the poorest communities living in remote rural areas.
As members of African countries, whether from remote or non-remote areas, poor or rich, we should support AMREF Health Africa. Through this support, it will be able to work effectively saving many lives.