We partner with communities in Africa to address the most critical health needs and ensure everyone has access to health care no matter where they live or who they are.
Working with governments at all levels, we help to strengthen fragile health systems so that improvements in health care will last for generations to come.
Women, Children and Adolescents
Africa accounts for 200,000 of the 289,000 women and teenage girls who die every year of complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. 4.6 million children under the age of five die from mostly preventable diseases in Africa every year. We take a holistic approach to improving the health of women, children and adolescents by ensuring essential care and addressing root causes, such as gender inequality and harmful practices like female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
With 116 births per 1,000 adolescent girls in 2015, teenage childbearing in sub-Saharan Africa is more than double the world’s average. We focus on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights for teenagers, women and men and ensuring access to family planning services. We work hand-in-hand with youth to ensure they are empowered with the information and services they need to make informed decisions about their own sexual and reproductive health.
Health Worker Training
Skilled nurses, midwives, doctors, community health workers, laboratory technicians and other health workers are essential for saving lives and improving health over the long term. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa face a huge shortage of health workers with an average of only 1.1 health workers per 1,000 people, against the recommended minimum of 2.3 per 1,000. That’s why training health workers in Africa has been central to our work since our founding in 1957 and continues to be a focus to this day, with the help of mobile technology.
Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Every 60 seconds a child dies from a preventable waterborne disease, such as cholera and dysentery. We focus on ensuring communities, health facilities and schools all have access to clean water, adequate sanitation, such as latrines and toilets, and essential hygiene supplies, such as soap and hand sanitizer, to prevent death and disease.
Disease Prevention and Treatment
Africa faces a rising burden of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. At that same time, infectious diseases like tuberculosis continue to kill millions every year. (TB alone killed more than half-a-million children and adults in Africa in 2019). We focus on preventing disease through community-wide health promotion and education and treating disease through training health workers to ensure they have the skills to provide the care that is needed.
When we started out in Kenya in 1957, we provided free health care to distant communities who otherwise had no access. Known then as the Flying Doctors of East Africa, we used airplanes to reach remote communities. Today, we continue to provide free health care to those who need it most through our medical outreach services, including surgery for women living with obstetric fistula (a debilitating birth injury caused by obstructed labour) and children with cleft lip and palate.