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2011-04-27

Rural healthcare in Morocco focus of antipoverty effort

By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Rabat – 27/04/11

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Rural areas in Morocco lag far behind cities in terms of access to medical treatment, Health Minister Yasmina Baddou concluded at the first national meeting on rural healthcare.

"Our goal is to enable citizens and children to have the same chances of survival regardless of whether they are in cities or the countryside," the minister said at the April 18th conference.

According to the health ministry, 43% of the rural population lives at least 6 kilometres away from a healthcare centre, and 25% of people live more than 10 kilometres from one.

Baddou said that despite the efforts made to boost infrastructures and human resources, there was still a long way to go before people living in rural areas would be able to access the proper healthcare. She added that her agency had drafted an action plan in order to bridge the gaps.

"This strategy will focus not only on the construction of healthcare centres, but also on mobile units, especially for childbirth and specialist services," the minister told parliament on April 18th.

But the government effort was criticised by parliamentarian Abdelhamid Saadaoui, who said that there was a shortage of doctors, adding that "sometimes there is just one nurse who gives consultations and only comes once a week".

"To facilitate access to healthcare in rural areas, we must take infrastructures and human resources into account," Saadaoui said.

Zohra Ouardi, who lives in a douar in Taza, told Magharebia that although there was a community health centre a few kilometres from her home, it only provides basic healthcare and local people have to travel to the city to see specialists. Often, she said, people prefer to treat themselves with plants as they do not have enough money to travel to the city.

Among the authorities' efforts, the health minister pointed to an increase in the number of healthcare facilities to 2,630, 74% of which are located in rural areas. These basic facilities house a total of 518 maternity units, 373 of which are in rural areas, she said.

She added that other measures implemented include the provision of emergency obstetric care, greater availability of medicines and ongoing training. She also said that nearly half of newly recruited doctors were posted to rural areas.

Baddou ent on to say that under the 2011-2012 plan, healthcare services provided by basic facilities will be expanded and improved in line with accredited national standards. Furthermore, outpatient care in remote areas will be expanded and improved, and partnership schemes will be consolidated.

The 2008-2010 period saw an improvement in terms of infrastructure and equipment, service provision, the supply of medicines and the boosting of human resources, according to Khalid Lahlou, population director at the health ministry. Despite this improvement, he added, partnerships with healthcare programmes must be forged.

The partnership with the National Human Development Initiative, for instance, has contributed 1.8 billion dirhams since 2005. The money was used to purchase ambulances for mobile teams and to build healthcare centres.

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    Driss Naji 2011-7-20

    before going any further,I've come across this website just by chance when I was looking for some articles on culture.I think it's a good initiative to communicate the MAGHREB information in English.I've found interesting things in it that I'm going to take advantage of in the future for my research about different things concerning my job as an English teacher.So, all that I can say now is good luck and I hope to contribute to the ongoing success of your website. Regards, D.Naji

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    عزيز اخفنير 2011-5-7

    In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful. Rural health care in Morocco doesn’t require the concentration of efforts to fight poverty with false slogans or stand in the parliament falsely shouting and screaming to the Moroccan people. Honestly, it requires huge funds wasted on debauchery and immoral festivals such as Mawazine which has nothing nice about it. Then, rural medical care won’t lack anything.

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    hafido 2011-4-28

    “Rural healthcare in Morocco focus of antipoverty effort” – This makes me laugh, but who are they mocking? The people, of course. Well, are you blind or what? In Morocco, there is no social coverage and the majority of Moroccans are poor. When you go to the hospital, even in case of an emergency, you have to first pay the door guard under the table and then pay 4 euros and that is just to register. The doctor examines you, and if you need to get an x-ray or other exams, you need to go to the bank and pay and keep paying without being reimbursed. And I am talking about the city, so how can you want to talk about taking care of the rural people. Since everyone around me – my loved ones, my friends and myself – cannot get access to the most basic care, we take care of ourselves however we can with our grandmothers’ remedies. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. You have to suffer to be a Moroccan! So, please, stop doing publicity! It hurts. Here in Morocco we have no rights for anything besides to suffer and die in silence. Meanwhile, the King enjoys his life, eats until he is full, and gets care without a thought. The Moroccans have nothing left in their bones. And going to specialists is overpriced! It is practically the same as in Europe. So, for those who still believe in the King’s reign, I can say they don’t have me with them. Get out, King!

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