BY REJOICE NCUBE
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted a shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030 in low and middle-income countries due to poor levels of socio-economic development and poor retention of health workers.
In a recent report, WHO stated that the most affected countries would be those in Sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe included.
The global body said the health workforce in the affected countries needed to be scaled up by 140% to attain international health development targets.
“The problem is so serious that in many instances, there is simply not enough human capacity even to absorb, deploy and efficiently use the substantial additional funds that are considered necessary to improve health in these countries,” the WHO report read.
“There are 59,8 million global health workers and 4 250 000 health workers that are needed to fill the gap. The crisis is even more in Africa as 11% of the world population is in Sub-Saharan Africa, while 25% of the global burden of disease is on them and only 3% of health workers are available to them.”
WHO said the chronic under-investment in education and training of health workers in some countries and the mismatch between education and employment strategies in relation to health systems and population needs were contributing to continuous shortages of health staff.
It said past investment shortfalls in pre-service training, international migration, and career changes among health workers, premature retirement, morbidity and premature mortality were some of the factors that resulted in a shortage of health workers in Africa.
“Therefore, an improvement in the health system has to be done to avoid the predicted shortfall of health workers and also the working environment of the workers must be made safe as “we must invest in the people who invest in us,” the WHO report stated.
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