Call on govt to revise health staffing system, employ qualified personnel
October 14, 2015 in Health, National, News
The government should revise its outdated health staffing system and consider the employment of qualified health workers currently sitting at home due to the current freeze on employment.
By Phyllis Mbanje
The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) said the existing staff establishment does not address the shortage of health personnel in the country.
CWGH director Itai Rusike said the existing staff establishment was not adequate to address the increasing disease burden, population and emerging health threats as articulated in the World Health Organisation’s building blocks for health systems.
Rusike said the growth in population and disease burden necessitated an increase in both numbers and capacitation of health care workers for the provision of sufficient and quality health care services.
“CWGH noted that in some rural health facilities, when the only nurse available goes for a workshop, the clinic is closed,” he said.
Under the current establishment, 23% of all provincial and central hospitals do not have dentists, while most district hospitals do not have the four doctors required.
Some district hospitals were also manned by pharmacy technicians instead of the required degreed pharmacists.
“We also propose that for any staff establishment posts that have been made redundant as a result of advances in healthcare or changes in disease and demographics, be used to a create a new health cadre,” Rusike said.
In their input statement for the national health budget for 2016, CWGH also said there was need to come up with a funding mechanism for the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are costly to diagnose and manage.
The Public Health Advisory Board once proposed introduction of earmarked sin taxes to fund NCDS.
Currently, only 9% of the health workers have been trained in managing injuries, trauma and other priority NCDs.
For diabetes management, only 53% of the health workers are trained to manage the disease.
“The proposal by the Advisory Board should be followed through to avoid premature deaths,” Rusike said.
Stakeholders have previously called on the government to increase budget allocation for health and meet the Abuja Declaration of allocating 15% of the national budget to healthcare.
“Countries that are honouring the convention have done remarkably well in improving their overall health outcomes and status,” Rusike said.