The African Platform on Human Resources for Health held the 5th African Health Workforce forum at the Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala from 19th to 21st April 2017.
The three days high level forum that was premised on the theme: Positioning the African Health Workforce for Sustainable Development that expounded the Human Resources for Health Implications for Universal Health Coverage, the challenges posed by the African context of high population growth with escalating levels of poverty among other challenges in Africa.
The forum that brought together delegates from more than 10 countries from within and without Africa was conducted through; plenary sessions, breakout sessions and discussions under the following thematic streams: Health Workforce education and training; Preparing the African HWF for universal Health Coverage; Leadership for HWF Development Management and Regulation; Nursing and Community Health Workers; and HWF Migration.
The major objectives of the forum were to: Review the status of implementation of the “Road map for scaling up human resources for health for improved health service delivery in the African Region; Gain deep understanding of relevant recent developments such as the “Global strategy on human resources for health: (Workforce 2030)”; the African Health Strategy; and discuss the implications for African countries of the establishment of the Global Health Workforce Network (GHWN), at the WHO secretariat in Geneva.
Dr Khama Rogo, Lead Health Sector Specialist at World Bank, Africa Regional Office, Nairobi while giving a keynote address recollected the challenges faced in Human Resources for Health in Africa siting the recent occurrence in Kenya where doctors went on strike for 100 days, disabling the operation of the health system in Nairobi. He cautioned that as health leaders in Africa, we cannot pretend to be sorry at things when we are still planning the same way we did 40 years ago and expect the plans to deliver efficient health systems.
Meanwhile Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) and the chair of the APHRH while giving the conference overview, highlighted education and training as the biggest opportunity for Human Resource development in Africa, yet a huge challenge too. He noted that because Human resources for health involves a multi-stake holder approach, there is therefore need to have a multi-stakeholder planning for human resources based on the needs of the different countries right from the time of training.
Dr. Sarah Opendi, the State Minister of Health and General Duties who was the chief guest at the forum brought to light the facts on the health workforce densities on Africa that have stagnated over the last decade due to high population growth rate and the investments in education and training which have not matched the population growth despite vigorous global campaigns. “Population growth rate will only come down when we have health workers that can provide the needed family planning services to the population in need.” Dr. Opendi noted while opening the forum.
The forum deliberated on topical issues that included among others: the Migration of the health workforce; Brain Drain to Brain Gain, The New Global Health Workforce Strategy 2030, Integrating CHW into the Health Systems, WHO Code on the International recruitment of Health Personnel, and The nursing campaign.
Two reports titled: the Epidemic Outbreak Preparedness and Response and “The Neglected Dimension of Global Security were launched for the first time in Africa by Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda at the conference.
The outcome of the three days conference was a well-documented communiqué that will be used as a stick to hold the African leaders accountable to deliver on their promises.