African region faces shortage of 3.5 million health workers by 2030 – WHO

The African region is expected to experience a shortage of about 5.3 million health workers by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

He said the high attrition of skilled health personnel from the region to “developed” countries in recent times threatens not only health security but also the region’s socio-economic development.

Dr. Francis Kasolo, the WHO representative in the country, who made it known, challenged African governments to prioritize health in their public budgets in order to increase investments in health workers. health.

He was speaking at the opening of a three-day regional dialogue on investing in and protecting health workers in Africa yesterday in Accra.

The meeting, which brought together representatives of Member States, sub-regional bodies, investors and partners, among others, is to identify key principles for investing in the health workforce and opportunities to address the growing drain of brains.

Dr Kasolo pointed out that there is ample evidence to suggest that investing in the health workforce could accelerate universal health coverage (UHC), strengthen health security, equity and empower women and young people.

“Investing in the health workforce will protect vulnerable populations from the shocks of the current crisis and improve access to health. There is convergence in the interests and timing of key stakeholders on investments and actions in the workforce health care. The cost of inaction is unaffordable.”

A Deputy Minister of Health, Alhaji Mahama Asei Seini, admitted in a speech the brain drain in Ghana’s health sector despite the government’s efforts to employ and improve the conditions of service of workers.

It is with this in mind that the ministry, he said, has reviewed its human resources policy and strategy to improve the availability and equitable distribution of health workers across the country while ensuring their retention to achieve UHC and Sustainable Development Goal Three. goals (SDGs).

“Indeed, there can be no better time to invest in the health workforce and explore the physician training pipeline, the supply and willingness to work, and the need for physicians and other health personnel based on the workload. country’s morbidity cannot be overstated,” he said.

Africa bears 25% of the global burden of disease, but has only 3% of the global workforce to cope with it.

The WHO estimates that the region has 1.5 health workers (doctors, nurses and midwives) per 1,000 people – well below its threshold of 4.45 health workers per 1,000 people needed to provide services essential health.

A report by the United Kingdom Nurses and Midwifery Council says that between April 2021 and March 2022, a total of 23,444 people educated outside the UK joined its register for the first time.

That’s 13,482 (135% increase) more than the number who joined the previous year with relatively 2,000 overseas-trained workers joining the UK health forces every month.

In the case of Ghana, a 2021 report by the House of Commons in the UK reveals that there are more health professionals of Ghanaian origin working for the National Health Service (NHS-UK) than in Ghana. .

He said a total of 3,395 healthcare workers from Ghana have migrated to work in the UK since the start of this year, compared to 3,236 who left the shores of Ghana for the European country the previous year.

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