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Health coverage in West Africa

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Nigeria accounts for 80% of the health infrastructure in West Africa. Following the Ebola crisis, Liberia and Sierra Leone increased their investments in the health sector on a massive scale. Sierra Leone now has more hospitals than Côte d’Ivoire, even though that the country’s population is three-times larger. Disparities are even greater within countries. Abuja, Bamako, Ouagadougou and Niamey seem to be pockets with developed health infrastructure within larger less-favoured regions. There are some 830 health establishments located less than 20 km from a land border, leading to the development of cross-border health care. The gaps in the medical infrastructure are particularly visible along the Niger‑Nigeria border (Katsina Maradi or Birnin Kebbi‑Dosso). Moreover, border cities currently have a surplus of medical centres and a deficit of hospitals and maternity facilities in relation to the urban population size. Closer collaboration between border cities could facilitate the development of cross-border health facilities and better meet needs of the region as a whole.

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