Every year, International Men’s Health Week is observed the week before Father’s Day. It is a space of time set aside to advocate for the importance of health issues specific to men. 

Here in the USA, most men strive to take the best care of themselves that they can. They have the tools at the disposal to learn how to eat right, they are aware of how exercise can impact their overall health, and – most importantly – most American men have access to healthcare when they need it the most.

Access to healthcare allows men to be there for their loved ones; it allows them to show up, fully present, in their relationships. Most men can count on growing old with their spouses, and see their children grow up and start their own lives.

This shouldn’t be too much to ask for. Yet, as we speak, millions of men all across Africa do not have these same resources or assurances of getting to see their own children grow up.

It is not okay that because a man happens to live in Africa that his health should suffer.

Health Concerns Men Should Pay Attention To

Physical Health

 According to the Cleveland Clinic , there are a number of health issues that men need to be aware of. Among these conditions are:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Numerous forms of cancers (testicular, prostate, colon)
  • Alcohol-related illnesses

Heart health is crucial for men, particularly as heart disease remains the leading cause of death among males in many parts of the world. Men are often at a higher risk of developing heart disease at an earlier age compared to women, due in part to lifestyle factors and genetic predispositions.

Good cardiovascular health allows men to stay active, manage stress more effectively, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also supports overall bodily functions, including metabolism and brain health. 

By prioritizing heart health through regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, and routine check-ups, men can significantly lower their risk of heart-related illnesses, ensuring a healthier, more productive life.

A 2021 article, released by the World Health Organization, noted that cardiovascular conditions are becoming increasingly common in low-income nations, responsible for up to 1/3 of global deaths:

People living in low- and middle-income countries often do not have the benefit of primary health care programmes for early detection and treatment of people with risk factors for CVDs. People in low- and middle-income countries who suffer from CVDs and other noncommunicable diseases have less access to effective and equitable health care services which respond to their needs. As a result, for many people in these countries detection is often late in the course of the disease and people die at a younger age from CVDs and other noncommunicable diseases, often in their most productive years.

– WHO, Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)

Mental Health

Mental health is fundamentally important for men, yet it often goes overlooked due to longstanding cultural norms and stigmas that discourage open discussions about emotional and psychological well-being. In many cultures, mental health is not a concept that is well-known or understood. Which means that education on this topic is of the utmost importance.

Particularly in heavily patriarchal societies, where men are meant to be seen are strong leaders, acknowledging a struggle with things like depression or anxiety, could be seen as a weakness, which then leads to ignoring issues that need to be addressed.  

For men, leaving mental health concerns unchecked can lead to a decreased quality of life and negatively impact relationships. Leaving mental health issues unaddressed leads to higher rates of untreated mental health disorders.

Mental health influences every aspect of life—from interpersonal relationships and productivity at work to overall life satisfaction and physical health. Addressing mental health proactively can lead to better stress management, improved resilience, and a decreased risk of chronic illnesses often exacerbated by poor mental health.

Preventative Health

Preventative health is essential for men, as it plays a crucial role in detecting and addressing potential health issues before they develop into more serious conditions. Many health problems common in men, such as hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, can be significantly mitigated or managed with early detection. 

Preventative health measures can also encourage men to adopt healthier lifestyles, including better nutrition, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep, all of which contribute to long-term health benefits. 

When men are able to access healthcare and pursue preventative treatments, they not only extend their lifespan but also improve their quality of life, reducing the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of disease.

How Healthcare Impacts Men In Africa

The average life expectancy all across the African continent is significantly low at only 65 years old for men. This is in stark contrast to the numbers for men in North America at 80 and 79 in the United Kingdom.

One major difference between men born in Africa, and those who are born into first-world nations, is the ease of access to even the most basic healthcare.  As we’ve shown in previous blog posts, there is an international medical care crisis in African nations, leaving even the most privileged individuals without access to a medical professional of any kind.

This makes preventative healthcare almost non-existent for many, which will have an obvious impact on their overall health and quality of life. 

“Access is still the greatest challenge to health care delivery in Africa. Fewer than 50% of Africans have access to modern health facilities. Many African countries spend less than 10% of their GDP on health care. Also, there is a shortage of trained health care professionals from Africa because many of them prefer to live and work in places like the U.S. and Europe.”, Abayomi Ajayi, obstetrician and gynecologist, Insights by Stanford Business

As you might very well expect, the African healthcare crisis has only gotten worse after the COVID-19 Pandemic, which overwhelmed an already stressed healthcare system.

“Recent studies have highlighted deficiencies in health systems across the continent. A May survey report by Reuters found that there is less than 1 intensive care bed per 100,000 people across Africa, while an April report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) concluded that healthcare systems across the continent are under-resourced, with lower proportions of available hospital beds, intensive care units, and health professionals than other regions of the world.

Lack of consistent planning for healthcare infrastructure and inadequate funds allocation, compounded by budgetary cuts, have left public health sectors in some countries ill-prepared to deal with the novel coronavirus in Africa.”

Africa: Covid-19 Exposes Healthcare Shortfalls, Human Rights Watch


With a healthcare system that was already struggling to thrive prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, is it any wonder that healthcare remains inaccessible to men today?

How Medical Missions Make A Difference To Men

Medical mission organizations, like Mission Partners For Christ, have identified the gaps in the overall healthcare system in African nations. We have seen, firsthand, what happens to people who do not have the money or ability to see the doctor. Far too many people suffer in physical pain due to failing healthcare systems.

This is why God called Sheri to create Mission Partners For Christ. Our entire goal is to find underserved African communities who have little to no access to healthcare.

Working alongside our partners, who are established in Africa, we work to identify:

  1. Communities that are underserved. This means we are specifically looking for communities that are impoverished and have little to no means of improving their economic situation on their own. These are also communities that have little to no access to medical care. Occasionally, there may be a community health worker, but they will also lack the funds and tools necessary to care for the health of an entire community. Our medical teams will then travel to these villages, bringing the hope of healthcare with us.


  2. Communities that are unreached with the gospel. Some of the communities we visit have a cultural understanding of Christianity, but no one has taught them what Jesus did for them on the Cross. Other communities are locked in closed countries where the gospel is not welcome, which means that the people we serve will have never even heard the name of Jesus, let alone what salvation means. 

In a land where men do not have the same privileges as men in other places, medical missions can create equality and allow men to truly take control of their own bodies and health in a way they never could before.

Upon meeting with one of our trained and licensed medical professionals, the men who come to our clinics will learn what it takes to be the healthiest versions of themselves. They will learn how diet, exercise, and sleep all contribute to to overall wellbeing. If they have any health concerns, such as heart issues, diabetes, or high blood pressure (three of the most common concerns we see at our medical clinics), they will also learn how to manage those conditions and how to access the medicine and tools they need to be healthy.

More than that, medical missions open doors to sharing the gospel. Many people who come to our free medical clinics are stunned at the love and care they are shown in the name of Jesus, which makes them curious to know more about the God that called us to their village. At each clinic, we serve hundreds of patients which means there are potentially hundreds of souls who are invited to hear the gospel and learn about Jesus.