February 26, 2008 -- Despite billions of dollars invested into health in Africa, the shortage of appropriate health workers particularly in rural areas in many countries is a major barrier to health service coverage for the poor.
Posted on Behalf of Kate Tulenko: With an estimated 20,000 people attending, the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City had the potential to be more theater than science. Yet in session after session delegates brought up health workforce as the main obstacle to the implementation of their programs. HIV testing couldn’t be done due to lack of counselors and laboratory technicians. Generational transmission from a mother to her child could not be prevented due to a lack of midwives to administer antiretrovirals during labor. Drugs sit on shelves while people die from lack of nurses and physicians to prescribe the drugs and manage the therapy and its side effects.
Posted on Behalf of Kate tulenko: One of the worst ironies of the global health workforce crisis is the lack of people with the skills to address the crisis. This applies both to developing countries as well as to the aid and development institutions that work with them. Forget about finding dyed-in-the-wool experts with graduate degrees in health workforce planning---you can’t even find people with minimal practical experience. That’s how long ignored the subject has been.
Posted on Behalf of Kate tulenko: Do you think that lack of money is the largest barrier to saving children’s lives in Africa or stopping AIDS? Wrong! Money has been flowing into health and development programs in unprecedented levels but it can’t be properly spent. One of the main reasons is the lack of professional managers in the health system, hospitals, and clinics. Without professional managers, needed medications languish in customs houses or central storehouses and don’t make it out to rural areas where life expectancies in