Background on the book

As little as 1 percent of prime time news in the United Sates is devoted to Africa. But most of that reporting focuses on genocides, wars, corruption, famines, and the failures of the "dark continent." Africa gets little press for the achievements of the past 20 years, especially in the health sector. In my work and consulting with a number of Ministries of Health in Africa, a number of issues were often raised; but two recurrent questions stand out: (1) Could you describe the health system of this African nation?, and (2) We hear this program has succeeded or failed. But why? What lessons can we extrapolate to our country? These questions, along with the lack of any published information on health systems in Africa, became the impetus and challenge to compile this first book on Health Systems of Africa to be published by FNT Press, Atlanta.

Before presenting the health system of featured countries; we will provide an in-depth review of the socio-economical and political background in which the health system operates. In fact, the make-up of the above factors constitute a dynamic that continuously shapes-up the health system of a country. Each of the health systems featured in the book will follow the same format. When services are not available or provided, the author will then try to provide an explanation.

Our objective is to receive manuscripts from every one of the 53 African nations. However, the book will only feature 7 to 11 countries. The book will provide a representative sampling of existing African health systems. The others health systems will be on our web page. Due to time limitations, we can only progressively include these manuscripts to our web site.

Our objective is to contribute to the timely dissemination of knowledge, the dissipation of existing misconceptions on Africa, but also fostering a forum to promote interactions between Ministries of Health in their quest to better their health systems. In short, we hope that this publication will become a reference manual.

Editorial Board

Scholars, researchers, practitioners, and field people from Africa, North America, and Europe will be contributing to our Editorial Board.


To insure access by the largest possible audience in Africa, the book Selected Health Systems of Africa will be on the World Wide Web. Our web address is: In addition, we hope that the various UN Agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF, and the growing number of Non Governmental Organizations (NGO), focusing on health issues in Africa will contribute to the dissemination of the book. Finally, our hope is that this book will also become a text book used in Schools of Public Health, and Departments of International Health around the world.