5 Challenges of the Healthcare Sector in Developing Countries

Today, the rising health concerns across the globe are no surprise to anyone. The baby boomers have started to age, increasing the demand for health services. At the same time, the global pandemic is putting more pressure on healthcare institutes. Therefore, many countries are taking additional measures and integrating technology to meet the rising demand for health services. You would come across electronic monitoring, telehealth, 3D printing devices, and much more. 

But what about developing countries? Unfortunately, these savvy innovations require hefty capital investments, smart infrastructure, and knowledge. Since developing countries have a limited budget and spending capacity, they struggle to overcome healthcare challenges. Besides the health crisis, they have to deal with the shortage of healthcare workers, environmental pollution, and high mortality rates. 

Developing countries also experience health inequality due to the lack of social security systems. As a result, only people who can afford to pay for healthcare have access to health services. In addition to decreasing overall living standards, it has a direct impact on economic growth. If you wish to learn more about it, have a look below. Here we are highlighting five challenges of the healthcare sector in developing countries. 

   1. Outspread of Infectious Diseases

Unsurprisingly, people in low-income countries are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases. Firstly, due to their high exposure to infectious agents and lack of medical care. Malnutrition is another reason because people don’t have robust immunity to fight bacteria and germs. Similarly, the low level of sanitization and unclean water gives birth to additional health problems. A large proportion of illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis, respiratory problems are treatable with existing medicines.

However, the consequences of poverty fail to lower disease’s burden. The governments are making efforts to curb infectious diseases, but why not try making a difference yourself? You can equip yourself with expert healthcare knowledge and work for public health. And for this, you have to complete a master’s in public health. You can also opt for an mph online program to continue learning in your busy schedule. Besides offering a holistic perspective on public health practices, you can help communities fight deadly diseases. 

   2. High Infant & Maternal Mortality Rate 

Millions of infants die every year from several diseases. Simultaneously, the maternal mortality rates are also skyrocketing since many women lose the battle with their lives while giving birth. Usually, it is because of puerperal infection, when bacteria infect the uterus and the nearby areas. It affects the uterine lining and muscle, resulting in extreme pain and death. Fortunately, it is a preventable disease as proper sanitization and nutrition can significantly improve health postpartum. 

These maternal pregnancy complications lead to high infant mortality. The inefficient health personnel cannot detect urinary tract infections, thinking that having pressure on the lower belly is normal. As a result, mothers carry bacteria in the bladder until giving birth. However, developing countries can reduce maternal mortality rates through adequate health services in the perinatal period. They could seek help from adequately trained public health nurses and midwives during birth. 

   3. Failure to Accommodate Patient Needs 

As the population is aging, there will be more patients suffering from chronic illnesses. Since healthcare systems in low-income countries solely provide acute care, meeting chronically ill patients’ needs won’t be possible. Patients need assistance with heart failures, transplants, and different respiratory problems. Hospitals in developing countries neither have an infrastructure to accommodate these healthcare needs nor skilled health workers. 

Moreover, there is a shortage of healthcare workers. In high-income countries, there are 2.9 doctors per 1000 population whereas low-income have roughly one-sixth. Also, the low salaries and poor working conditions in healthcare institutes don’t encourage people to take up jobs in this sector. Besides, there is also a shortage of medications and treatments because of insufficient research and development investment. 

   4. Environmental Pollution 

Believe it or not, but a lack of education is one of the developing countries’ most significant challenges. People are unaware of hygiene practices and sustainable techniques, resulting in adverse environmental conditions. The excessive dumping of industrial waste in rivers is polluting water, giving birth to bacterial infections. Environmental pollutants also have various adverse health effects from early life, such as perinatal disorders, allergies, malignancies, and mental disorders. 

In a rush towards industrialization, the factories generate greenhouse gasses that damage the air quality. In turn, more people suffer from asthma and lung infections while increasing the risk of morbidity. Additionally, carbon monoxide disposed of in factories can provoke direct poisoning when breathed at higher levels. Heavy metals such as lead can result in the chronic intoxication, causing central nervous system misfunctioning. And the only way to curb the impact of these hazards is to create awareness amongst people. 

    5. Strained National Finances & Inadequate Systems 

In high-income countries, the government incurs substantial expenditure on healthcare services. They allocate budgets to different health departments and ensure every citizen has access to quality healthcare treatments. However, developing countries have a limited budget and low per capita health expenditure. They neither have the administrative ability to survey the situation nor formulate competent plans based on the results. 

Similarly, the absence of social security system creates additional healthcare problems. The lower classes in developing countries can’t afford medical expenses related to accidents and illnesses. And if they manage to raise money for treatments, it would be at the cost of their savings. Moreover, some developing countries have health insurance system but are not run properly due to insufficient funding. Hence, the people who need health coverage the most are denied by the insurance companies.  

Final Thoughts 

The developing countries are facing multiple issues out of which health crises are the most significant ones. The deteriorating health conditions are impacting living standards and growth, pulling economies into the poverty trap. Healthcare authorities and public health professionals must address these issues and encourage governments to take adequate measures. They can create awareness about environmental hazards and family planning to combat overpopulation. Likewise, developing countries must allocate sufficient budget to healthcare to improve its infrastructure.