Monday, June 04, 2012

INFOCUS: Profile of ongoing Programs addressing the Health Human Resource Crisis in Africa

Monday, June 04, 2012
Our last InFocus piece looked at the Africa's Health Human Resources Shortage as a growing crisis. We noted that whilst the challenge was significant, there were some noteworthy programs on the ground  working to address the shortages. In this piece, we will be profiling some of these programs. If there is a program we did not feature, please send us information about it. These are only a few we were able to find;


Tanzania: Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation - Mkapa Fellows Program

MKAPA Fellows is a pioneering, innovative human resource for health program that supports the efforts of the Tanzanian government to tackle HIV/AIDS. What they do is simple; they recruit and deploy dedicated fellows to work in remote communities with acute shortage of health professionals.

The following documentary video speaks volumes about their work. Click and view.

Kenya: Africa Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) - Human Resource for Health Project

The erosion of Kenya’s key health indicators -life expectancy, infant mortality and maternal mortality - during the last two decades can be traced in part to the deterioration of the health workforce. The acute shortage, inequitable distribution and inadequate skills of health workers have contributed to this negative trend. The Kenya health workforce currently stands at 1.69 health workers per 1,000, way below the WHO is recommended ratio. This small number of health workers is further inequitably distributed denying vast sections of the population access to quality health care thereby impacting negatively on health indicators despite the heavy investment made in the various areas.

The HRH Project is working with the goal to contribute to the increase in the ratio of the health workforce to population and to achieve equitable distribution of health human resource in Kenya.

The project seeks to build advocacy skills, capacity and knowledge among civil society, the government and non-state actors, including professional associations and recruiting agencies to address the problem of human resources for health (HRH) in Kenya.

The objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of CSOs, Government officers and other non-state actors to advocate for HRH issues in Kenya.
For more information on this project, CLICK HERE.

Southern Africa: East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community - Human Resource Alliance for Africa

The ECSA is implementing a five-year human capacity development program entitled “Human Resources Alliance for Africa (HRAA)”. The program seeks to provide a mechanism for a regional platform in assisting 10 Southern African countries in building the human resources (HR) necessary to deliver quality health and HIV/AIDS programs. In line with PEPFAR’s objectives, the goal of the HRAA is to improve and increase the number health resources for health and social welfare in Southern Africa.

The ECSA HC – led Alliance brings together international, regional and national institutions and individuals including with Jhpiego Corporation (Jhpiego), Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI), Regional Network for Equity in eastern and southern Africa (EQUINET), African Health Systems Development (AHSD) and the Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care (RCQHC) to provide a mechanism for a regional platform in assisting 10 southern African countries in building the human resources (HR) necessary to deliver quality health and HIV/AIDS.

The five result areas to be addressed by the program are; National HRH/HSS plans, policies and systems implemented and managed; National HRIS developed and the use of data for decision-making across the regional promoted; Pre-service education systems for health and social welfare-related professionals, paraprofessionals and community health workers strengthened; Workforce shortages addressed through improved worker recruitment, retention, and productivity, including the community/informal workforce and Health professional regulatory bodies and associations strengthened (e.g., nursing councils) which may register and credential health care workers, oversee continuing education, and/or accredit academic institutions.

Africa: The Africa Health Workforce Observatory

The Africa Health Workforce Observatory (AHWO) was established with a mission to support actions that address HRH challenges urgently through promoting, developing and sustaining a firm knowledge base for HRH information that is founded on solid and updated HRH information, reliable analysis and effective use at subnational, national and regional levels.

As the health workforce field involves multiple sectors (education, labour, civil service, etc.) and legitimate stakeholders (ministries of health, academia, professional associations, NGOs, regional institutions, etc.), the observatory acknowledges the relative importance and role of these stakeholders and promotes their participation to ensure common understanding of issues and consensus on priorities and cooperation for effective implementation.

The observatory is guided by the recognition that the development of health workforce policies is a dynamic and continuous process based on a continuously renewed understanding between stakeholders. Therefore, the development of human resources policies and the negotiation process implies and should be based on the best available evidence, the production of relevant information and promotion of transparency and trust.

As many forces that affect human resources in a national system are common to other countries or are international in nature, the HRH observatory recognizes the impact of globalization and the economic and social integration process on the HRH development in order to inform itself and influence the international initiatives and experience.


This is only a selection. Tell us what you think. Are there other programs you are aware of. Share that information with us and we will inturn share with the continent and the world.

Editorial Team.

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