BENEDICT TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Health intends to recruit 30,000 public health workers by 2021, to strengthen primary healthcare provision.
This move will curtail the critical shortage of qualified health workers, with only about 52 percent of the total number of health workers required countrywide.
In August this year, Government engaged 1,000 community health workers in its quest to mitigate the shortage of health personnel.
Ministry of Health director of policy and planning Henry Kansembe said Government is working to strengthen community health worker strategy for primary health care provision.
“In August, 1,000-plus community health workers were added to the payroll and the Ministry of Health announced that it will recruit 30,000 public health workers by 2021. This is an important first step,” Dr Kansembe said.
Speaking at the “Empowering the next generation of primary health care advocates: High-level breakfast meeting” in Lusaka last Friday, Dr Kansembe said staffing levels in rural areas remain vulnerable given the poor infrastructure.
“Essential drug shortages persist despite significant improvements in the availability and distribution of pharmaceuticals over the past decade,” he said.
He said geographical coverage of primary health care and other services is uneven, with Lusaka and Copperbelt being significantly advantaged.
“To address these challenges, the Government is working closely with partners like the Churches Health Association of Zambia to strengthen service delivery in rural areas,” Dr Kansembe said.
Global Health Corps (GHC) senior director advocacy and communications Jessica Mack said fixing health systems is complicated and multi-faceted, hence requires collaboration among a diversity of skills.
She said the GHC believes that great leadership is the greatest lever for change in global health.
“That is what we are building,” she said.
She said with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underway, universal health coverage is gaining momentum as health is a human right.