The importance of strengthening the health workforce in Nigeria

The importance of strengthening the health workforce in Nigeria – Health workers are an important pathway to achieving the health targets in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 (health and well-being). An adequate, fairly distributed, motivated and supported health workforce is essential for progress towards universal health coverage (UHC). Health workers also play an important role in emergency preparedness and response, as well as providing community-centered integrated health services.

Although many countries have made progress in addressing health human resource issues, there are still several health workforce challenges that must be overcome to achieve a sustainable and effective health workforce. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a projected shortage of 18 million health workers by 2030, most of them in low- and lower-middle-income countries. However, countries at all levels of socio-economic development face, to varying degrees, difficulties in the education, employment, placement, retention and performance of their workforce at slot 777.

Minimal budget funds aimed at the health sector

Chronic underinvestment in education and training of health workers in these countries and a mismatch between education and employment strategies in relation to the health system and population needs contribute to persistent shortages. This is exacerbated by the difficulty in deploying health workers to rural, remote and underserved areas. Although more than half of the population of developing countries (3.1 billion people or 45% of all humanity) lives in rural areas, the vast majority of health workers live and work in urban areas. Inequalities in the distribution of health workers are most severe in low- and middle-income countries where there is the most severe shortage of health workers.

WHO’s global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030 highlights contemporary evidence and provides policy options and recommendations to address challenges through four goals: (i) optimizing the health workforce to accelerate progress towards UHC and the SDGs (goal 1); (ii) understand and prepare for future health system needs, capitalizing on increased health labor market demand to maximize job creation and economic growth (goal 2); (iii) build institutional capacity to implement this agenda (goal 3) and (iv) strengthen human resources for health (HRH) data to monitor and ensure accountability for implementation of the national strategy and the global strategy itself.

Also in line with the recommendations of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth , and the 5-year action plan for health employment and inclusive economic growth (2017–2021) adopted by the Seventieth World Health Assembly in 2017, the Strategy’s global recommendations provide a statement that it is clear that investment in health workers can result in health and economic improvements. WHO has also developed Guidelines for the Development, Attraction, Recruitment and Retention of Health Workers in Rural and Remote Areas to provide practical options for addressing health workforce gaps in rural and remote areas, and guidance on health policies and support systems to optimize community health workforce programs that integrate community health workers (CHW) in health systems and communities.

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