Helga Fogstad, Executive Director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health was speaking during the 2018 Partner’s Forum in New Delhi India, a global conference co-hosted by Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and the Government of India.
“Public health institutes in Africa and Cameroon in particular are facing the problem of low human resources because their health experts are leaving their countries to other countries thereby leaving very few experts behind” she said.
In Africa, the critical shortage of health personnel is the highest obstacle facing public health institutions in this modern era. Almost every sector of the health care system is affected by this crisis which contributes to the increasing rate of maternal and infant mortality.
While several countries have made efforts to address this shortage of health personnel, mainly through international policy implementations and regional programs, the complexity and scope of this issue makes it extremely difficult to resolve.
Helga Fogstad recommended that more health extension workers that are able to meet certain health care needs are trained. In serious cases, they can help communicate the need further. It I cost effective if there is one level of community health care worker that takes care of the community, identify risk patients and make sure that the patient is taken to the clinic or secondary hospital.
There are many duties that can be done by the auxiliary midwives, assistant medical officers and auxiliary nurses that are much cheaper in providing critical emergency services and many don’t easily leave to other countries.
According to International Journal for Equity in Health, some regions in Cameroon have a higher number of physicians (per person) than others leading to poor health outcomes across the regions. 70 % of regions have a density of health personnel-to-population per 1,000 that is less than 1.5, implying acute shortage of health personnel. Poor working and living conditions, coupled with limited opportunities for career progress accounted for some documented 232 physicians and 205 nurses that migrated from the public sector.
The absolute shortage of public health personnel in Cameroon is further complicated by the geographic distributional inequalities across the regions of the nation.
However, Cameroon aims to achieve universal health coverage by 2035 despite major challenges still faced in policies targeting training, recruitment, retention and effective deployment of motivated and supported health workforce as well as the development and improvement of health infrastructures remain the major challenge.