The Challenges Facing Healthcare Systems in Developing Countries and Potential Solutions 

The Challenges Facing Healthcare Systems in Developing Countries

Health systems around the world are struggling, with varying degrees of difficulty. Human resources issues are more prominent in nations with low Human Development Indexes (HDI), but problems with health care delivery are more frequent in nations with very high HDIs. Over the years, human-made problems that affect institutional, human resource, financial, technical, and political developments have harmed healthcare systems in developing countries. In light of this, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007 put forth a framework that divides healthcare systems into six main “building blocks” or components: service delivery, workforce, healthcare information systems, drugs and technologies, financing, and leadership/governance.

Healthcare is an essential human right, but sadly, many developing nations are having a difficult time giving their people access to high-quality care. High prevalence of infectious and non-communicable illnesses, restricted access to preventative treatment and immunisations, a lack of qualified healthcare personnel, poor money, inadequate infrastructure, inadequate health education, and geographic limitations are some of these issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial significance of having a strong and resilient healthcare system, which has further worsened these issues. 

Challenges and their Potential solutions: 

following are some of the factors that act as a barrier in the delivery of health care facilities in developing countries and make it challenging for such nations to reach the international standards of healthcare facilities. 

Inadequate infrastructure: 

Infrastructure refers to the constructed environment and system processes for concepts, individuals, and things including buildings, roads, communication channels, electricity, flowing water, and sanitary facilities. In some developing nations, the big cities have a lot of these conveniences, but the countryside may only have dirt roads, no running water, no internet, and no energy that can be used without a generator. Even simple things like washing your hands or heading to the grocery shop might be challenging.  

The ramifications for healthcare are enormous. How are wounds and scratches cleaned up? How can someone having a heart attack be immediately taken to the hospital? Which hospital is the closest to me? It is not possible to dial 9-1-1. Currently, the inadequate healthcare infrastructure in low- to middle-income countries prevents residents from seeking medical care. For instance, South Africa recently attempted to adopt a national healthcare bill that would enable all of its inhabitants to afford insurance policies, much like those of the United States. Unfortunately, national healthcare policies contain a blinding flaw.

The populace cannot easily get standardised health diagnostics because of the system’s inadequate organisation. No country’s population can be guaranteed universal access to a standardised health care system. Many developing countries have limited healthcare infrastructure, with few hospitals and clinics, limited medical equipment, and poor road networks that make it difficult to transport patients and medical supplies. 

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Insufficient Funding: 

The lack of adequate finance for healthcare systems is a serious issue that many developing nations deal with. Inadequate medical equipment and supplies, a lack of skilled healthcare staff, and restricted access to necessary medications and treatments are just a few of the issues that can arise from this lack of funding. 

Lack of government investment is one of the major causes of underfunding of healthcare systems in developing nations. Governments may not place a high priority on healthcare spending and instead direct their limited funds to other priorities like infrastructure or defence. Mismanagement and corruption can also take money away from healthcare institutions, aggravating the issue. 

The scarce resources in these nations are another problem. Since the GDP (gross domestic product) per person is frequently smaller in developing nations, it can be difficult to devote enough money for healthcare. Furthermore, individuals may find it challenging to access and afford healthcare services due to high levels of poverty and inequality, producing a vicious cycle wherein inadequate investment results in subpar health outcomes, which in turn further destabilises the economy. 


There are a number of alternatives that can be taken into consideration to address the issue of inadequate funding for healthcare systems in developing nations. Governments can improve their investment in healthcare by directing more funds there as well as by putting anti-corruption and pro-transparency measures in place. International organisations and affluent nations can also offer financial and technical support to help emerging nations develop their healthcare systems. 

To improve funding for healthcare systems, it may also be possible to investigate novel financing methods including social impact bonds, results-based financing, and public-private partnerships. In order to lessen the burden of sickness and the necessity for costly treatments, efforts can also be undertaken to raise public awareness of the value of healthcare and to encourage a culture of preventative healthcare. 

Shortage of Health Care Workers: 

One major issue that many developing nations face is the lack of qualified healthcare staff. Numerous factors contribute to this shortfall, such as the lack of proper training facilities, insufficient healthcare financing, brain drain, and restricted access to high-quality educational and training opportunities. 

The lack of funding for healthcare systems in developing nations is one of the key causes of the scarcity. This results in a shortage of funding for healthcare worker training and education programmes, which reduces the number of qualified professionals available to deliver crucial medical services. 

The brain drain, where qualified healthcare workers leave developing nations in search of higher wages and better working circumstances, is another cause. As a result, the shortage of healthcare staff in developing countries is made worse.A substantial difficulty is also presented by the restricted availability of high-quality education and training programmes for healthcare professionals. It is challenging to offer aspirant healthcare professionals high-quality training programmes in many developing nations due to a lack of suitable educational facilities and resources. 

The lack of qualified healthcare staff has a number of detrimental effects on developing nations’ healthcare systems, including poor access to care, subpar care, and higher rates of morbidity and mortality. 

Potential Way out: 

To address this problem, developing nations must make investments in their healthcare systems by boosting financing for educational and training initiatives, enhancing working conditions for healthcare professionals, and putting in place measures to deter brain-export. Partnerships with industrialised nations to share technological know-how and assistance can also serve to enhance healthcare systems and lessen the shortage of qualified healthcare staff in developing nations. 

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High Burden of Infectious Diseases: 

Because to issues including poverty, a lackluster healthcare system, and restricted access to vaccines and other preventive measures, infectious diseases continue to be a serious burden in developing nations. Malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, and diarrheal illnesses are a few of the most prevalent infectious diseases in these areas. 

The mosquito-borne illness malaria is common throughout much of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over 94% of these cases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There will likely be 409,000 malaria-related fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa among children under the age of five in 2019. 

Another substantial infectious illness burden, notably in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, is tuberculosis (TB). An estimated 10 million cases of TB were reported globally in 2019, with about 40% of those cases occurring in India, China, and Indonesia. With an expected 1.4 million fatalities from infectious diseases in 2019, TB is also a prominent cause of death. 

Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS continues to pose a serious public health threat in many emerging nations. There were an estimated 38 million HIV/AIDS patients globally in 2019, with almost two-thirds of them living in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite considerable advancements in lowering HIV/AIDS-related fatalities, an estimated 690,000 people passed away from the condition in 2019. 

In developing nations, diarrheal illnesses are one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality. They are generally brought on by inadequate sanitation and hygiene. The WHO estimates that diarrheal illnesses caused 1.5 million deaths globally in 2019, with over 1.3 million of these fatalities occurring in children under the age of five. 

How to combat it: 

Overall, the prevalence of infectious diseases is still high in developing nations, and governments, healthcare providers, and international organisations must work together to solve this issue. In this endeavour, the healthcare system is being improved, access to vaccines and other preventive measures is being increased, and social and economic issues that contribute to the development of infectious illnesses are being addressed. 

Limited Access to Preventive Care: 

In many underdeveloped nations, there is a serious issue with restricted access to preventative care. Preventive care encompasses actions that assist people in preventing illness and disease before they manifest, such as immunisations, routine physicals, and health education initiatives. 

Poor healthcare infrastructure, lack of information about the value of preventative care, and poverty are just a few of the factors that limit access to these services in developing nations. 

For instance, many people who live in rural locations might have to drive a long way to the closest hospital or health facility and might not have the money to pay for either of those things. In many underdeveloped nations, there may also be a dearth of healthcare professionals, medical supplies, and equipment, which can make it challenging. 

Furthermore, many individuals in underdeveloped nations might not comprehend the value of preventative treatment or how to maintain good health by engaging in activities like exercise and a nutritious diet. 


A comprehensive strategy that addresses the underlying social, economic, and political problems that contribute to the limited availability to these services is necessary to increase access to preventive care in developing nations. This may entail making investments in the infrastructure of the healthcare system and training healthcare professionals, giving low-income people financial aid to obtain healthcare, and supporting health education initiatives that promote public awareness of the value of preventative care. 

Inadequate Health Education: 

In many developing nations, a serious issue is the lack of sufficient health education. Numerous health issues, including as inadequate sanitation, infectious infections, malnutrition, and poor maternity and child health, are exacerbated by this lack of education. 

Lack of resources is one of the main causes of insufficient health education in underdeveloped nations. The lack of adequate resources for healthcare and education in many developing nations makes it challenging to construct programmes for health education that are both efficient and successful. Furthermore, it may be challenging for many individuals in these nations to get basic necessities like wholesome food and clean water, which makes it tough to maintain good health. 

The absence of qualified healthcare practitioners is another issue that contributes to the poor quality of health education in developing nations. 

Inadequate health education can have serious repercussions. Many individuals in underdeveloped nations suffer from diseases and ailments that can be prevented with good education on disease prevention and treatment. These conditions can cause permanent health issues, disabilities, and even death. Additionally, a lack of health knowledge can aid in the spread of infectious diseases, which can have catastrophic effects on the health of a society. 

How to resolve this issue: 

Investments in healthcare and education must be made in developing nations in order to overcome this problem. The implementation of efficient health education programmes and the training of healthcare personnel should be given top priority in this expenditure. Additionally, collaborations with governments and international organisations can offer much-needed funding and assistance to help solve the issue of insufficient health education in underdeveloped nations. 

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Bottom Line: 

In conclusion, developing nations struggle with a number of issues related to their healthcare systems, such as poor infrastructure, inadequate funding, a lack of qualified healthcare professionals, high rates of infectious and non-communicable diseases, restricted access to preventive care and vaccinations, insufficient health education, and geographic barriers. These issues make it challenging for emerging nations to offer their inhabitants high-quality healthcare.

However, there may be ways to address these issues, including bolstering the healthcare system, enhancing funding and financing options, addressing the labour shortage in the field, emphasising preventive care, encouraging innovation, and utilising digital technologies. By putting these ideas into practise, developing nations can advance towards establishing universal health care and raising the standard of living for their people. The success of these initiatives will ultimately depend on ongoing political will, solid collaborations between governments, civil society, and international organisations, as well as a dedication to promoting healthcare as a fundamental human right. 

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