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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that eighty percent of the 11 million deaths that occur in Africa each year are as a result of preventable diseases. Dr Dick Johnson, an economist with the WHO, told a regional conference comprising regional health ministers and experts converging on Kampala that HIV/Aids, lower respiratory tract infection, malaria and diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for more than half of these deaths.

Kampala
More Africans dying of poverty, disease
By Kenneth Kwama
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that eighty percent of the 11
million deaths that occur in Africa each year are as a result of
preventable diseases.
Dr Dick Johnson, an economist with the WHO, told a regional conference
comprising regional health ministers and experts converging on Kampala
that HIV/Aids, lower respiratory tract infection, malaria and
diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for more than half of these
deaths.
"This heavy burden of disease has contributed significantly to
Africa's chronically poor economic performance and poverty," he said.
British charity Save the Children-UK told participants at the meeting
that research in East and Central Africa had shown abolition of user
fees could greatly improve health care and reduce death rates.
"These studies show that the current system of financing health care
is excluding between thirty and sixty per cent of the population,
especially the poor, from accessing health care and we hope the
conference will come up with better ways of paying for health care,"
said Sophie Witter, a researcher with the organisation.
Regina Keith, a senior health adviser also with the organisation, said
further research had indicated making essential health care services
free at the point of access could save the lives of up to a quarter of
a million children under five.
The conference, convened by WHO and Save the Children-UK amongst other
development partners, is discussing ways to improve Fair and
sustainable health financing (FSHF) in Africa.
Uganda's minister of health Jim Muhwezi said preventable diseases have
been a major worry in the region where preventive and curative
technology is known, but not affordable.
"Due to public outcry, Uganda abolished user fees in 2001. Our
challenges are how to fund this policy. It is timely for experts to
meet and advise on how we can solve ealth financing bottlenecks," he
said.