The health workforce is the heart of each and every health system, ensuring advances in health. Policies and strategies that gear towards Universal Health Coverage will only be successful insofar they also tackle the health workers shortage and mal distribution, especially in the socially and geographically more excluded areas and health sectors (eg. public primary care in remote rural zones in low and middle income countries).
There exists furthermore an expanding evidence on the importance of especially primary health care (PHC) in addressing the challenges of the changing health problems, all over the world and not in the least in developing countries.
HURAPRIM is an international collaborative research project that aims at developing and assessing policies and key interventions to address the personnel crisis in the health sector, especially in Africa. The program wants to analyze the current situation, understand the complexity of the topic, review and test possible interventions and strategies, and contribute to more equitable and efficient policy making in this area.
In the first decade of the 21st century, immense advances in human well-being coexist with extreme deprivation. In global health we witness the benefits of new medicines and technologies while at the same time, life expectancies have collapsed in some of the poorest countries to half the level of the richest. The availability of skilled health workers is a key element to address the actual problems.
There is a worldwide shortfall of 4.3 million health care workers, of which 1.8 million in Africa. The African region has 24% of the (global) disease burden and only 3% of world’s health workers expend less than 1% of world’s health expenditure. Multiple reports have documented the important deficit in human resources in health in Africa.
The causes are multiple and relate to a combination of training deficits, internal mal distribution, inappropriate task allocation, deficient working conditions and (inter)national brain drain.
The health workers’ crisis has the potential to deepen in the coming years as the demand for service providers escalates in all countries and as the financial crisis pushes States to cut back on public health personnel spending and on international cooperation.
The HURAPRIM projects intents to promote and help develop innovative interventions and policies to address the crisis of health workers in sub-Saharan Africa, with a special emphasis on the primary care level.