ten facts about living conditions in Gabon

The West African country of Gabon is home to nearly 2 million people and shares a large part of its borders with The Republic of the Congo. While more politically stable than its neighbors, Gabon still struggles with extreme poverty and corruption. Keep reading to learn the top 10 facts about living conditions in Gabon.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Gabon

  1. Poverty: Even though Gabon boasts a per capita income four times the sub-Saharan average, as of 2015, 34 percent of the country still lived below the poverty line. Some estimates place unemployment at more than 40 percent. Of those who are employed, 64 percent are primarily employed in subsistence agriculture. By 2025, President Ali Bongo hopes to move Gabon into a “higher-tech, skilled economy,” which will potentially yield quality jobs beyond subsistence farming.
  2. Oil: Until oil was discovered offshore in the 1970s, Gabon primarily exported timber and manganese. As of 2012, Gabon had 2 billion barrels of accepted oil reserves, making it the fifth largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, oil makes up 80 percent of exports and 45 percent of the GDP. Despite the money generated from oil, the hydrocarbon sector, unfortunately, doesn’t generate sufficient jobs.
  3. Clean Water: More than 97 percent of urban populations have access to clean drinking water while only two-thirds of rural populations do. Relatedly, only 43 percent of urban dwellers and just below one-third of rural inhabitants have access to quality sanitation. In 2018, the African Development Bank granted Gabon a fund of $96.95 million to improve the water deficit in its capital Grand Libreville by expanding the drinking water infrastructure into Greater Libreville and other municipalities. The goal is to have sustainable universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2025.
  4. HIV/AIDS: As of 2017, 56,000 people in Gabon were living with HIV/AIDS. That same year, 1,300 people died from causes related to HIV/AIDS. This, however, is a decline from 2003 when 3,000 people had died of HIV/AIDS-related causes. Since 2010, new incidences of HIV have dropped by 50 percent while the number of AIDS-related deaths has fallen by one-third.
  5. Leading Causes of Death: In 2007, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death in Gabon. However, as of 2017, that number had fallen to fifth place, being overtaken by ischemic heart disease and lower respiratory tract infections as the top two causes of death. Although from 2007 to 2017, Malaria had risen to third place in deadliness. In 2017, there were more than 35,000 confirmed cases of malaria and 218 deaths.
  6. Corruption: Gabon has been relatively stable politically since gaining independence from France in 1960 and electing El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba in 1968. President Omar Bongo ruled for 41 years until 2009 when his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, won the presidential elections. But, within this relative stability, dissent and distrust had begun to surface. The elder Bongo’s re-election in 2002 was riddled with allegations of electoral fraud. In 2016, when the younger Bongo was reelected, the country erupted into riots which resulted in the burning of the parliament building. The opposition, as well as international election observers, flagged the election results as suspicious, but Gabon’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Ali Bongo Ondimba extending his mandate to rule until 2023. In January of 2019, while President Bongo was in Morocco on an extended stay, several soldiers attempted a coup. They were unsuccessful and ultimately arrested.
  7. Education: According to the Education Policy and Data Center’s 2018 National Education Profile, 90 percent of primary school-age children were attending school. Literacy rates for young adults ages 15-24 were at 89 percent for females and 87 for males. This shows impressive improvement from 1985 when literacy rates were much lower, 53 percent for women and 70 percent for men.
  8. Maternal Mortality: The average woman in Gabon has about 4 children. In 2015, 291 women died out of 100,000 live births. As of 2018, there was still only one physician for every 3,000 people; therefore, complications from pregnancy and delivery can often go undetected and untreated. While still distressing, this maternal mortality rate represents a marked improvement from 1996 when it was 403.
  9. Infrastructure: In the 2013 World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report, Gabon ranked 112 out of 148 countries for quality of infrastructure. While roads are often impassable in the rainy season, railroad infrastructure had performed substantially better, coming in at 72 out of 148. Gabon has “one of the highest urbanization rates in Africa. More than four in five people live in cities.” In fact, 59 percent of the population lives in the country’s two dominant hubs: Libreville, the political capital and Port Gentil, the heart of its oil industry.
  10. Life Expectancy: In the 1980s, women were only expected to live into their early 50s and men only into their late 40s. Improvements in healthcare among other factors have extended life expectancy for women into their 70s and for men into their mid-60s. Furthermore, the mortality rate for children under the age of five was cut in half since 1990 when 80 out of 1000 children died. In 2017, that rate was approximately 40.

It is evident through these top 10 facts about living conditions in Gabon that there have been dramatic changes in the quality of life. Hopefully, Gabon will reach its drinking water and sanitation infrastructure goals for greater Libreville by 2025. It is through initiatives like this that Gabon will continue to improve the standard of living for those in the country.

Sarah Boyer
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits From Foreign Aid to Gabon
As the United States faces potential cuts to its foreign aid budget, it is important to recognize that the relationship between the United States and any country receiving aid is not a one-way transaction. The benefits reaped by both countries outweigh any costs. The many ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Gabon is one such example. With a diplomatic friendship stretching back 58 years, the U.S. assists Gabon with funds that power humanitarian programs. These programs fight poverty, human trafficking and disease in Gabon. In return, the U.S. has gained a stable trading partner and international ally.   

The Partnership Between the U.S. and Gabon

When Gabon gained independence from France in 1960, U.S.-Gabon relations grew quickly. During the cold war era, Gabon was an ally of the West and has always sought to remain close with U.S. leaders, no matter who occupies the Oval Office. Gabon’s large oil reserves have received investments from U.S. presidential administrations, starting with Nixon and going all the way to the Obama administration. Gabon’s oil industry has been key to the development of strong trade partnerships with the U.S.

As reported in 2018, the U.S. had been importing about 30,000 barrels of crude oil from Gabon daily.  However, it isn’t all about oil; Gabon is ranked 134 as the U.S.’ largest goods trading partner. In 2016, there was a total of $192 million in goods traded. The U.S. exported a total of $89 million in goods to Gabon, and in return, imported $199 million in Gabonese products, clearly showing that the trading benefits alone outweigh any foreign aid costs.

The main products being imported from Gabon include mineral fuels, wood products and rubber while the U.S. mainly exports poultry products, beef products, cotton and sweeteners. While there is a certain amount of trade occurring between both nations, the number of goods being exchanged could be improved substantially by an increase in the amount of aid that Gabon is receiving from America. As more trading occurs as a result of Gabon’s ongoing development, the more the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Gabon.    

The Rainforest

The two countries also cooperate to spearhead conservation efforts that seek to protect the country’s rainforest from deforestation and poaching. As a central African nation, Gabon part of the second largest rainforest in the world: the Congo Basin. The Congo Basin’s many natural resources provide food and shelter to more than 60 million of its inhabitants. Land in this area creates many viable, renewable products that have long reinforced a strong trading partnership with the U.S.

The United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), has employed an initiative called the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) in Gabon and six other nations in the Congo Basin: the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of the Congo.

The program seeks to bolster conservation efforts in these six countries as they battle poaching and deforestation while, at the same time, trying to improve responsible land management in the Congo Basin. CARPE works with communities and governments and nonprofits in these central African nations to speed up the transition from developing states to financially and politically secure democracies. It provides funding to ensure that the region’s rich, biodiverse habitat is preserved and that the transition from developing nation to developed nation is accompanied by low emissions and environmentally conscious economic strategies.  

Looking Ahead

Looking to the future, it is clear that the relationship between the U.S. and Gabon is beneficial for both countries. The ways that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Gabon will only be strengthened as Gabon continues to develop, bolstered by USAID through programs such as CARPE. The 58-year relationship between the two countries serves as an example of the mutually beneficial results of foreign aid. 

Jason Crosby
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Girls' Education in Gabon
The top 10 facts about girls’ education in Gabon presented in the text below are interesting to consider because of the intersection they suggest between the country’s strengths and weaknesses. Women in Gabon suffer at the hands of domestic abuse and a deficiency of certain instrumental rights. At the same time, literacy rates in the country are relatively high compared to other countries in the region.

The 10 Facts about Girls’ Education in Gabon

  1. Compulsory education in Gabon lasts for 10 years. Students begin at age 6 and finish at age 15. This can be considered as a relatively short period, particularly when compared with a typical education in a country like the United States where students usually begin their education at age 6 and finish at age 18.
  2. In 2012, about 82 percent of people over age 15 in Gabon were considered literate. Out of this number, 85 percent were male and 80 percent were female. This is one indicator of gender inequity in education in Gabon.
  3. Compared to other countries in the region, Gabon has a relatively high overall education enrollment rate. In 2005, this rate was at the 92.4 percent. This may, in part, have to do with the fact that education is compulsory through certain ages.
  4. There is overcrowding in primary level schools and a high drop out rate in secondary schools. This suggests that when the compulsory years are finished, students neglect the idea of continuing their education.
  5. Gender equality in schools increases with age and education level. Still, only 54 percent of female students in Gabon continue into the latter parts of secondary education.
  6. UNICEF is making efforts to help keep girls in school. The Ministry of Family has set up in-school daycare to help ensure that young mothers are able to attend school. Many women in the country marry and start families young so solutions like these are essential to ensure woman’s continuing education.
  7. Poverty is most rampant in villages in Gabon. Because of this, villages also lack proper education systems. This often means that children have to attend schools far away from their homes. Families in rural areas often discourage their children from pursuing education, particularly females who are expected to help in the household.
  8. Education itself is free in Gabon but students are subject to fees that amount to about $50. Poor families cannot afford these fees and their children are, as a consequence, unable to receive an education. This education barrier affects both girls and boys in the country.
  9. In 2011, a study revealed that 77 percent of children in Gabon were victims of violence. Children are not likely to want to continue education past compulsory stages if it is associated with trauma and abuse.
  10. Constitution of Gabon affirms gender equality and the country has ratified documents affirming women’s rights but problems still persist. Women are frequently victims of domestic abuse and are often forced to marry at very young ages. These young marriages often prevent them from continuing to pursue their education.

These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Gabon indicate that though the system is providing decent literacy rates, education in Gabon is far from perfect. Women still face lower literacy rates than men and early marriages prevent them from having sufficient educational opportunities.

Efforts like those of UNICEF mentioned above will help to ameliorate such problems but the most promising prospects for the future will have to come from the country itself.

– Julia Bloechl
Photo: Flickr

Investment Helps Spur Improved Infrastructure in Gabon
Infrastructure has become an issue of increasing salience for the country of Gabon. Diminishing growth rates and persistent poverty have become common; oil shocks have put the economy into tumultuous waters. To address this, the West African nation, with a population roughly the size of Nebraska, has recently prioritized addressing inadequate infrastructure in Gabon. It is doing so in partnership with Bechtel, a company known for its landmark development projects across the globe.

The Role of Infrastructure in Gabon

Economists agree that infrastructure is a crucial component of economic growth, especially in developing countries. Along with increased productivity, improved infrastructure also disproportionately helps the poor. This is achieved through improved access to markets and facilitating human capital accumulation and economies of scale.

Put simply, better roads, railways and ports make transporting goods easier and cheaper. Furthermore, better telecommunication infrastructure, like telephone lines and internet access, enables more participation in economic activity. Education and healthcare also become more accessible, which allows people to improve their productivity.

For infrastructure in Gabon, where less than half of airports have paved runways and only 11 percent of roads are paved, there is plenty of room for investment to catalyze improved economic output.

The State of Gabon’s Economy

Despite boasting per capita GDP rates larger than most of its underdeveloped neighbors, Gabon has found itself confronted with significant development challenges. Its economy is overly reliant on a triad of natural resources; oil, manganese, and timber exports comprise the majority of the nation’s income. Petroleum revenues alone are responsible for 45 percent of the nation’s GDP. Such a dependence on exports, particularly natural resources, typically stifles a nation’s primary sector.

Development difficulty has also been exacerbated by an often unstable business environment fostered by the government. Gabon performs poorly – 167th out of 190 – on the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which measures a nation’s ease of doing business.

Previously, corruption had effectively thrown sand in the gears of the economy. It dissuaded foreign investors and compelled them to funnel capital elsewhere. Many potential investors find the nation’s regulatory apparatus too onerous. Furthermore, oil money often does not trickle down to benefit the citizens.

However, budget shortfalls attributable to poor fiscal planning and mercurial oil prices, as well as declining growth rates have facilitated a renewed emphasis on infrastructure investments and encouraged more government transparency.

Bechtel’s Commitment to Infrastructure

Unfazed by many of the obstacles to infrastructure in Gabon, Bechtel began an ambitious “master plan” for the nation’s infrastructure in 2010. The San Francisco-based construction and civil engineering firm agreed to a $25b public-private partnership. Its aim is to “balanc[e] economic progress with social and environmental policies… includ[ing] new schools and fiber-optic communications” as well as to increase industrial capacity within the nation.

Reaping the Rewards

Bechtel’s ambition to help modernize infrastructure in Gabon has shown tangible benefits for the nation and its people. Thus far, the partnership has successfully built five thousand public housing units, the nation’s first community wastewater treatment plant, and designed a new port, marina and conference center in the capital city of Libreville.

Gabon has made significant strides in other areas, too. When Bechtel began their work, less than 6 percent of Gabonese had internet access; by July 2016, the rate was 48.1 percent.

Although public debt and pervasive poverty remain problems, investment in infrastructure has offered a blueprint for building a better environment for Gabon and improved economic prospects for its people.

– Brendan Wade

Photo: Flickr


Not often acquiring media headlines or the prime destination for humanitarian relief within its region, Gabon has quietly become one of the most stable countries in West Africa. Albeit much of the economic improvement can be attributed towards increasing oil prices and structural reforms, over 30 percent of the population remains below the poverty line. The success of humanitarian aid to Gabon has been erratic, with recent concerns regarding political stability causing skepticism from the international community.

Most recently, international organizations such as the Red Cross have significantly increased its assistance in wake of the violence following the presidential elections in 2016. Mistrust is a major cause for concern as government corruption allegations hinder any positive aid distribution.

Open Markets

According to the Heritage Foundation, trade is a necessity for a country that is abundant in rich natural resources, particularly in oil. The value of exports and imports taken together “equals 74 percent of GDP.” Additionally, there are investment restrictions that drastically impede any progress needed to be made.

Due to heavy tariffs and nontariff barriers, many of the Gabonese population still reside in poverty. Gabon has been part of a rigorous economic program sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who issued an 18-month stand-by credit for $119 million.

International Aid

Outside the World Bank, many other countries have continued to foster development projects to reduce the country’s dependency on oil, as well as revert a stagnant economy. Other forms of investment devoted to strengthening Gabon’s economy have enhanced the robust public infrastructure, modernized technology, promoted investment and competitiveness and improved access to electricity and water in rural areas.

According to Oxfordbusiness, in recent years, Gabon has managed to develop a stable working relationship with many areas ranging from Europe to North Africa, Asia and North America. France has long been their primary trading partner, with over 120 countries operating inside the country.

According to the French embassy in Libreville the “stock of French investment in the country reached €1.3Bn in 2013. Additionally, the European Union has been an integral source of development in the country; allocating €49, of which “was to be devoted to education and professional training, as well as improving governance in several sectors of the economy.”

The United States has also been influential by importing $1.1.bn in goods from Gabon, in the form of mainly raw materials, and also “exporting $237m worth of goods” to the country. Latest figures also show China’s investment in the country has created a growing working relationship between the two countries.

Their humanitarian aid to Gabon comes in the forms of financial projects and a loan of €6m, of which was included in “recent cooperation agreements between the two countries.” Additional countries such as Morocco and Turkey have also become important sources of contribution to Gabon’s well-being.

Final Thoughts

One index which has closely monitored Gabon’s exponential growth in recent years is the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index Africa (HANCI-Africa). The objective of the HANCI-Africa is to enable civil society by putting pressure on its governments to adhere to the local population.

Essentially, the central component of this index is to separate both nutrition commitment and hunger to make government’s aware of how to better prioritize malnutrition to properly curate their agenda. The government has also taken steps to revive the economy by domestically investing in palm oil production as part of a project to veer away from its dependency on oil.

But this prospect backfired, with Gabon’s budget being “reduced by over 5 percent in 2017 – and income per capita declining in 2015 for the first time in 15 years.”

As a result, residents have lost thousands of jobs, and the government’s response has been to invest in the agricultural and mining sectors. Additionally, the influx of humanitarian aid to Gabon took a toll because of countries’ concerns on whether the money is distributed effectively.

If the growth continues to stagnate, then one can only wonder how long it will be before Gabon may need to rely even more on substantive humanitarian aid in order to lift the country out of poverty.

– Alexandre Dumouza

Photo: Flickr

women's empowerment in GabonHome to about 1.7 million people, the small West African country of Gabon is wealthy from oil exports and boasts impressive environmental diversity. An authoritarian government and family dynasty led by President Ali Bongo keeps wealth in its hands and contributes to high levels of inequality. Under the Bongo dictatorship, many legal and cultural obstacles remain that challenge and limit women’s empowerment in Gabon.

According to the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report for Gabon released in 2017, Gabon provides limited legal rights for women, and when laws do exist, they are poorly enforced. Marital rape remains legal, and women are often too ashamed or afraid to report a rape to the local police. Women’s empowerment in Gabon is promoted by several NGOs that work with the government to respond to incidents of domestic violence and harassment. Some positives include a very low rate of female genital mutilation (FGM), which is prohibited in Gabon.

While FGM has not taken root in the country, other traditions like polygamy are still practiced and act as a barrier to women’s empowerment in Gabon. Current laws limit the number of wives a man can have to four, and despite full legal rights on paper, many women still suffer discrimination based on customary laws relating to marriage, divorce and inheritance.

According to Amnesty International, the promise of gender equality in Gabon’s constitution is not borne out by the country’s laws and legal practices. The legal code continues to discriminate against women in child custody and crucial elements like the minimum age of marriage for women and girls, significant barriers to women’s empowerment in Gabon. Female domestic workers also suffer high levels of sexual harassment and have fewer avenues to legal help than other women suffering abuse in Gabon.

The World Bank is investing in a project to foster women’s business development and women’s empowerment in Gabon. The Investment Promotion and Competitiveness Project seeks to boost female employment, as the current female unemployment rate is at 27 percent — 11 percent higher than the male rate. The project will create a one-stop shop to register businesses with a central web-based database, empowering female entrepreneurs to receive training, access financial services and open small and medium-sized businesses. Projects like these are a key part of alleviating poverty for women in Gabon and helping them achieve empowerment.

– Giacomo Tognini

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Gabon

On a continent where a number of countries struggle with the issue of hunger, the western African nation of Gabon has proven to be a relatively optimistic case. Hunger in Gabon has gone down in absolute terms over the past decade.

In general, western Sub-Saharan Africa has improved its hunger situation in recent years. The prevalence of undernourishment in the region has been reduced from 24.2 percent in 1992 to 9.6 percent in 2016. In Gabon alone, the proportion of undernourished people went from 9.5 percent to 2.7 percent between 1992 and 2016. For Gabon, one of the most notable gains has been the wellbeing of children. Prevalence of growth stunting in children has dropped from 26.7 to 17.5 percent and the under five mortality rate has decreased from 9.1 to 5.1 percent in the span of 1992 to 2016. A big part of this improvement in western Africa has been the developments in infrastructure in the region. This has led to increased agricultural productivity.

Another reason for the decrease in hunger, including hunger in Gabon, is the increased cooperation between western African states. Several organizations have sprung up, including the Economic Community of West African States, the West African Monetary and Economic Union, and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel. Additionally, the region has adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, which, among other things, aims to right gender imbalances, promote nutrition and encourage investment in agriculture.

There are still some factors that may be perpetuating hunger in Gabon. According to the Hunger Reduction Commitment Index Africa, Gabon lacks access to agricultural research, functioning social protection systems and equal access for women to agricultural land. Gabon also lacks a constitutional right to food. However, access to land was rated as “moderate,” which is an improvement.

Overall, hunger in Gabon still persists. However, the country is making strides in the right direction. If it continues to cooperate with its neighboring states and expand the access of its people – especially in the rural zones – to the resources they need, it will continue down the path to ending hunger.

Andrew Revord

Photo: Pixabay

Gabon
Gabon is a Central African country bordered by Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is one of Africa’s richest countries because of its natural resources: however, one-third of Gabon’s citizens live below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is 20 to35 percent among young people. Why is Gabon poor when the country is rich in natural resources?

The first reason for this is the decline in oil reserves and prices. Being the fifth largest oil producer in Africa, Gabon has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade. According to a report by the World Bank, “On average, over the past five years, the oil sector has accounted for 80 percent of exports, 45 percent of GDP and 60 percent of budget revenue.” An August 2016 report by the Guardian states that, due to huge oil wealth and a tiny population of 1.9 million, in 2015, Gabon had one of the highest GDPs in the continent at about $8,300. However, the country’s fiscal situation has worsened since 2015 after facing a decline in oil reserves. Gabon’s GDP growth slowed down to 3.9 percent in 2015. It was expected to deteriorate further in 2016. The declining oil reserves and prices are one reason why Gabon is poor.

Heavy dependency on the oil industry has led to a less diversified economy, which is another answer to the question “why is Gabon poor?” One challenge to the diversification of the economy is the poor quality of Gabon’s business climate. The 2016 Doing Business report ranked Gabon 164 out of 189 countries. The Gabonese government’s strategy for the promotion of non-oil sectors has so far been giving specific incentives to foreign investors. However, a recent World Bank policy note emphasized the “importance of improving human capital, building a fair and transparent business environment and improving the quality and cost of core infrastructure, as critical building blocks for economic and export diversification.”

Political conflict and turmoil seem to be another reason why Gabon is poor even though it is a rich nation. There are a number of political parties, but the Gabonese Democratic Party (Parti démocratique gabonais, or PDG) dominates the political field. Omar Bongo was the country’s president for 42 years, from 1967 until his death in 2009. The incumbent president is his son Ali Bongo Ondimba, who won the 2009 election against the backdrop of a social crisis. He was confirmed re-elected in 2016, which the opposition representatives refused to accept. This lack of transparency and fair play in elections has led to boycotts by the opposition and political unrest and violence at times.

Consequently, a rich nation has turned poor over the years. The Human Development Index ranks Gabon 109th, which is miserably low given its potential of oil and other natural resources. Data shows that about 30 percent of the population remains vulnerable, living with a monthly income below the guaranteed minimum wage of $1. Further, it has become increasingly difficult for people in 60 percent of the regions to have access to basic social services such as healthcare and drinking water.

However, the good news is that the Gabonese government has taken steps to improve the situation. In 2014, it introduced a new policy called “Assises Sociales” to define Gabon’s human investment strategy (SIHG). SIHG aims to assist low-income people to increase their income and reduce inequalities in access to basic public services. There is also hope that the deals that President Ali Bongo has signed with three Asian companies, worth $4.5 billion, will diversify the economy and bring more jobs to people at home, especially in rural areas.

Aslam Kakar

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in GabonIn 2013, Gabon’s government began building new medical facilities to ensure that all citizens can access quality healthcare. This was an important step toward combating HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other common diseases in Gabon. However, further work is needed to continue protecting Gabon’s people from illnesses.

UNAIDS reports that 44,000 Gabonese adults (ages 15 and older) are infected with HIV. 30,000 women (ages 15 and older) are among that demographic. There are 2,600 Gabonese children (ages 0 to 14) living with HIV and 16,000 Gabonese orphans due to parents who died from AIDS.

Gabon has high incidences of malaria and other insect-transmitted diseases. While Gabon has a yearly malaria risk, the risk is especially high during and immediately after the country’s rainy seasons (October through December and February through April). The disease is mainly transmitted through Anopheles mosquitoes that feed from dusk to dawn.

In July 2017, a vaccine called RTS,S was found to have the capability of stopping malaria before it starts. The vaccine was tested in Gabon from May 2009 to early 2014. In July 2015, the European Medicines Agency gave the vaccine a “positive scientific opinion,” revealing that it could be used for Gabon’s future malaria cases.

Tuberculosis is an increasing epidemic in Gabon. In 2013, a research study observed 64 tuberculosis-infected children in a Lambaréné, Gabon hospital. The findings showed a discrepancy between the tuberculosis burden and the commitment to controlling it. Tuberculosis was found to be especially prevalent in Gabonese children.

International funding agencies have attempted to implement a “DOTS Strategy” program that could slow down and reverse the effects of tuberculosis. However, Gabon is unable to qualify for the program due to the country’s commodities and a high per capita income. As a result, the country’s national program against the disease is funded entirely by the state and tuberculosis remains one among many common diseases in Gabon.

However, efforts are still being made to combat Gabon’s disease outbreaks. In August 2017, a Regional Collaborating Centre was established as part of Africa’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The center will coordinate efforts to prevent infectious and non-communicable diseases in Gabon and other central African countries.

While common diseases in Gabon remain a problem for many residents, these efforts can help Gabonese people combat disease risks. The RTS,S vaccine could prevent many malaria cases if it continues to be used in the country. Gabonese children who are highly vulnerable to tuberculosis and other diseases will need continuing treatment as well.

Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr