On August 1st, LiveMD will be celebrating independence day along with all of the people of Benin.
Benin is a relatively small country, located in West Africa, bordering Nigeria. Its population of 10 million people, is predominantly French speaking and have an interesting history and culture, rich in traditional beliefs and voodoo practices. On August 1st, 1960, the people of the Republic of Benin declared themselves an independent nation after 88 years of being a French colony.
Overview of Benin’s Health Statistics
The Beninese people face many challenges related to the the health and wellbeing of their people. It is estimated that only three quarters of the population have access to safe drinking water and for most of the households there is not a safe disposal system for wastewater. This poor sanitation system results in contaminated water and an increase in many easily preventable diseases. The average life expectancy for the people of this country is only 61 years of age and recent estimates show that close to half of the entire population is under the age of 15. Much of the rural areas of Benin receive health care via mobile health units and the government is currently in the process of expanding their health care policy and broadening the level of access and services available to all of the country’s people.
Predominant Health Concerns Affecting the People of Benin
Currently in Benin, the level of prenatal care for pregnant women is very low. It is estimated that there are only 4 midwives available for every 1,000 births and of those births, 121 will die before their 5th birthday. Due to this lack of proper care, the risk of death while giving birth is very high with a 50% risk of death for all women in their lifetimes.
Malnutrition is a very big problem for the people of Benin. There is a lack of good, nutritious food for many of the country’s inhabitants, especially those living in rural regions. 25% of children are considered malnourished which can lead to a vast array of health problems including stunted growth and development.
Education and Literacy
Many of the people of Benin are lacking in education. The education system is underdeveloped, especially in rural areas and the majority of the population has never attended classes, especially girls and women. It is estimated that less than 35% of the population can read and write. This lack of education and poor literacy rates translate back to a problem in healthcare as well. A population that lacks in overall education is lacking in healthcare knowledge, creating a vicious cycle of poverty and disease.
Malaria and Other Mosquito Borne Illnesses
As with many of the African nations, Benin suffers from the frequency and severity of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever. These mosquito borne illnesses are rampant throughout the country and affect much of the population at some point during their lives.
LiveMD would like to wish all of the Beninese people a very happy Independence Day today and would like to congratulate you on all of your accomplishments so far. Much work is still needed to improve the lives of all of the people in Benin, but through government intervention and foreign aid, steps are being taken in the right direction.
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