The Netherlands, Malawi and Burkina Faso are comparable in terms of population: 17 million (the Netherlands), 19 million (Malawi) and 20 million (Burkina Faso). But that is where the similarities end. 

  Hospitals Number of doctors per 1000 inhabitants
Burkina Faso 109 0.06
The Netherlands 301 3.50
Malawi 31 0.016

In the Netherlands, it is quite common to go to a hospital if you have a (serious) illness or if there are complications with a pregnancy. Inhabitants of Malawi and Burkina Faso only go to a hospital if they really have no other choice, simply because they know that a visit to the hospital will cost them a lot of money.
If you really cannot postpone going to hospital, or if you can afford to do so, you are still not assured of good care. In Malawi, for example, the medical staff is insufficiently trained. Many patients do not receive a proper diagnosis and, as a result, the wrong treatment and the wrong medication. Hospital stays are also far from ideal. For example, patients with tuberculosis are kept in one room. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that usually occurs in the lungs and is transmitted through the air. Visiting family members walk in and out without any protection and can easily be stung and infect others. 

malawi ziekenhuis
Malawi Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital

Becoming pregnant in countries like Malawi and Burkina Faso is dangerous for many women. Women can die from complications during pregnancy, before, during or after delivery. Three quarters of the complications are caused by:

  • High blood pressure (during pregnancy)
  • Complications during childbirth
  • Severe bleeding (mainly after delivery)
  • Infection (mainly after delivery) 
  • Unsafe abortion

These complications are preventable or treatable if there are enough hospitals and clinics that can provide good care. Infection can be prevented if good hygiene is practised after delivery.
Every pregnancy is a risk. It is also important that there are enough hospitals and clinics that can inform women about proper contraception to prevent pregnancy and ultimately death.

Poverty kills unnecessary patients every day because there is no money for proper care. Dr. Thijs Feuth, physician in Malawi, puts it aptly: "Health care is a wealth and poverty is a disease."

9) Which ministry supervises to ensure that our healthcare is and remains good, affordable and available to all?
10) Name a second reason why visiting a hospital in Burkina Faso and Malawi is less easy than in the Netherlands.
11) Find out how many children women have on average in the Netherlands, Malawi and Burkina Faso (tip: