The findings show that the continent does not have enough health workers across different medical fields like physicians, nurses, and midwives. It is estimated that the continent has 3.6 million health workers across the 47 countries surveyed.
not have enough health workers to meet the needs of its population, this is
according to a new study.
The study which was
published in the British Medical Journal this week surveyed the health
workforce in 47 countries between January 2018 and April 2019.
The findings show that
the continent does not have enough health workers across different medical
fields like physicians, nurses, and midwives. It is estimated that the continent
has 3.6 million health workers across the 47 countries surveyed.
The study titled,
"The health workforce status is the WHO Region: findings of a
cross-sectional study," shows that on average has a 1.5:1000 health worker
ratio. This is below the recommended World Health Organization ratio of 4
health workers per 1,000 people.
The report attributes
the high shortage of health workers to several factors including inadequate
training capacity, international migration or brain drain, weak governance of
the health workforce, and poor retention of health personnel. It is projected
that the shortage of health workers in Africa will reach 6.1 million by 2030, a
45% increase from 2013, the last time projections were estimated.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the
WHO Regional Director for Africa says the shortage of health workers creates a
challenge in tackling maternal and infant mortality.
“The severe shortage of
health workers in Africa has daunting implications. Without an adequate and
well-trained workforce, tackling challenges such as maternal and infant
mortality, infectious diseases, non-communicable illnesses, and providing
essential basic services like vaccination remains an uphill battle,” she said.
According to the report,
37 percent of the workforce, the majority, is made up of nurses and midwives
while medical doctors are only nine percent. Laboratory personnel and community
health workers contribute 10 percent and 14 percent respectively while 12
percent are administrative and support staff.
Only four countries;
Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa have surpassed the WHO health
the doctor-patient ratio stands at 1:24,000. For this ratio to be reduced, the
report recommends that governments address the persistent shortages and poor
distribution of the health workforce.
In addition to this, the
report suggests that countries increase investments in building the health
workforce to meet their current and future needs. In addition to this, it
suggests that strong measures be taken to boost the training and recruitment of
health workers as well as to improve their deployment and retention.