DAN MURAMUZI: ‘Fit for purpose work health work force’

There’s a need to involve collectively all ministries of Education and Health across Africa to develop curricula that meet Africa’s health challenges and international standards.

Dan Muramuzi

Since the outbreak of covid19 pandemic in 2019, ministries, departments, and agencies have been hit severely in terms of human resources for health, external and internal funding, and inadequate capacity development due to the merger of financial resources. To note, the ministries of health have been the most affected whereby frontline health workers got infected with the virus and are now grappling with the long-term effects of the deadly pandemic.

Unfortunately, countries lost their valuable nurses and doctors and Uganda was nonexceptional because over 200 health workers including specialists succumbed to this virus. In order to foster continued human resource development and improved health service delivery amidst the crisis, 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) side events are calling upon Heads of state and implementing partners to invest in health workers with focus on the current health trends such as medical emergencies.

Importantly, regional reports have indicated that the health workforce shortage in Africa is a growing epidemic and is expected to spread faster due to the rapidly increasing population growth with Africa’s current population standing at approximately 1.4bn. The skills mix to address the current global burden of diseases is still below the bar and this has been stretched due to the rising cases of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension (Blood pressure) and cancers.

Therefore a need to involve collectively all ministries of Education and Health across Africa to develop curricula that meet Africa’s health challenges and international standards. A uniform curriculum for all training institutions might address the current differences in the level of competence and expertise demonstrated by various health professionals. There has been a challenge of individual institutions in developing and adopting their own curriculum content and this has left questions on the level of competencies exhibited by different cadres. Experts now recommend purposed investment in the health workforce across all disciplines to harness the technological advancements such as telemedicine, communication, Health innovation, and geriatric nursing that is taking shape in Africa.

Increasing the health budget remains key on the agenda if countries are to register tangible benefits from their health workers because this comes with fair remunerations, professional growth through scholarships and fellowships; and strengthens efficiency through incentives.

A demotivated health workforce is potentially nonproductive and may contribute to the national health agenda for any country. A call for all African countries to strategies promptly by involving the private sector and other implementing partners is cardinal.

This was revealed while attending the 75th WHA side event organized by the Ministry of health-Kenya together with Seed Global Health under the theme “Fit for purpose work health workforce”

The author is; Dan Muramuzi; BSc Nurse, MSc Health Services Research (Makerere University) and member of the Association of Graduate Nurses and Midwives of Uganda (AGNMU)

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