Walk the Talk: Invest in Innovation to Increase Africa’s Health Workforce
January 21, 2011
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) At the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Bangkok, Thailand, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) is calling on world governments and development partners to move beyond mere discussions and to take concrete action to solve the global health worker crisis.
“We need to walk the talk by investing in human resources for health,” says Dr. Peter Ngatia, AMREF’s Director for Capacity Building. He says “walking the talk, means investing in innovative methods of training and retaining health workers. Scaling up of human resources production cannot happen unless we invest in the use of technology to train the numbers that are required.”
Dr. Ngatia points out that “the 105 medical schools in Africa do not have the capacity to meet the urgent demand for doctors, nurses and midwives among many other cadres of health workers. Yet until we have adequately trained numbers of health workers, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain an illusion.”
AMREF is the world’s leading African health development organization. AMREF has been training health workers for close to 50 years, including clinical officers, community midwives and community health workers. AMREF’s current focus is on improving the health of women and children by focusing on human resources for health, health leadership, governance and management, health management information systems, and strengthening of community systems.
AMREF believes that the following areas must be addressed in developing human resources for health:
- Increase in the number of health workers educated in Africa
- Increase in the number of health workers educated in developed countries to stem immigration of Africa’s health workforce
- Reduce rural-urban migration of health workers
- Reduce movement of health workers from public to private sectors
- Increase development of skills and competencies of the existing health workforce
- Make taskshifting a priority. Taskshifting is when specific tasks are moved, where appropriate, from highly skilled health workers to health workers with shorter training and fewer qualifications e.g Doctors to clinical officers. This makes the health systems more efficient and increases access to quality health services.
These can only be achieved through:
- Use of innovative methods of training health workers, including doctors, clinical officers, nurses, midwives and community health workers e.g. application of ICT, e-learning , m-learning and telemedicine
- Increased investment in production of health workers
- Delivery of the 15% budgetary allocations pledged by African governments to improve the working conditions of health workers in rural areas and public health facilities
- Increased investment by global health initiatives in HRH development in Africa
AMREF has been nominated for three Awards of Excellence at the Forum and will be sharing our expertise on improving human resources for health by participating in panel discussions and organizing workshops.
For more information, please contact Dr Peter Ngatia, Director of Capacity Building, Tel: +254 722712630 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Nzomo Mwita, Technical Specialist, Training, Tel: + 254 721440462 Email: email@example.com
In the USA: Betsy Kovacs (firstname.lastname@example.org) 212-768-2440 or 917-297-1584 (cell)
See more about our involvement at this conference.