•The CS said many African countries are faced with the threat of uncontrolled emigration of health workers
•This, she said, exposes them to loss of both rare and needed skills as well as human capital investment
Health CS Susan Wafula has called on African countries to move with speed and address the challenge of brain drain among healthcare workers.
The CS said despite many African countries including Kenya having a shortage of health workers, they are faced with the threat of uncontrolled emigration of health workers.
This, she said, exposes them to loss of both rare and needed skills as well as human capital investment.
Wafula was speaking during a high-level side event on developing a Fit-For-Purpose health workforce for UHC in Africa at the ongoing 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva Switzerland.
According to the CS, Africa has an estimated 6.1 million shortfall of health workers against a projected global shortage of 10 million by 2030, hence many countries in Africa will struggle to achieve UHC and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“Africa must address the push factors to ensure resilient health systems for her people. The emergence of new cadres and regulation for optimal practice and safety are areas that need our focus,” she said.
She noted that workforce-related challenges have been worsened by Covid-19 and other public health emergencies.
She raised concern that Africa bears 25 per cent of the global health burden with only 1.3 per cent trained health workers which is critically below the expected requirement of 4.5 per cent per 1,000 population.
She further noted that disease outbreaks in the various regions continue to be a threat to health systems, and called for collaborative engagement and meaningful strategic partnerships which will include investing in the health workforce value chain.
“It requires our countries to focus on the areas that need to be strengthened and improved so that we continually produce a fit-for-purpose workforce that is capable to respond to the current and future health needs locally and globally,” she said.
Wafula said UHC commitments can only be attained through deliberate, focused investments in all the health systems building blocks including the health workforce.