The January issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on non-communicable diseases and post-conflict countries; a public health round-up; an article on Arab health professionals; a research paper on caesarean section rates in China; and a series of round table articles on the Global Fund and the interaction of public and private interests (January 2011).
Health Workforce & Capacity
“Medical schools in poor countries continue to produce doctors that they will eventually lose to more lucrative careers in cities or other countries,” but some of these countries “are already showing bold efforts to meet the challenge” of retaining health care workers, Manuel Dayrit, director of the WHO Department of Human Resources for Health, writes in a SciDev.Net opinion piece. Dayrit discusses programs in Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Philippines that use community-based education and local service contracts to retain health care workers in areas where they are needed.
Mary O’Neil, a principal program associate at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), examines how Malawi has reduced health care worker migration through a program to raise salaries, “with support from the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) and other development partners,” in this post in the Global Health Council’s Global…
Wall Street Journal Examines Potential Implications Of Allegedly Fake U.S. Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan
The Wall Street Journal reports on how “a reportedly fake vaccination campaign conducted [by the U.S.] to help hunt down Osama bin Laden has caused a backlash against international health workers in some parts of Pakistan and has impeded efforts to wipe out polio in the country,” one of only four worldwide where polio remains endemic. The article quotes a UNICEF country representative, a U.S. Embassy official, a Muslim cleric, a non-governmental organization representative, a local health care worker, and an official with a provincial health department (Tohid, 12/3).
African Countries Lose Billions Of Dollars Training Doctors Who Then Leave For Developed Nations, Study Says
Nine African countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe â€“ “have lost approximately $2 billion in their investment in doctors who have subsequently migrated abroad,” with South Africa and Zimbabwe suffering “the greatest economic losses,” according to a study published Friday in BMJ, VOA’s “Breaking News” blog reports (11/25). The researchers, led by Edward Mills, chair of global health at the University of Ottawa, found “Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States benefit the most from recruiting doctors trained abroad” and “called on destination countries to recognize this imbalance and invest more in training and developing health systems in the countries that lose out,” Reuters writes (Kelland, 11/25). The Los Angeles Times’ “World Now” blog writes, “Rich countries saved money by training fewer doctors than they needed and making up the gap by importing medical staff, according to the report” (11/25).
The U.S. government on Thursday “formally announced the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) in Lilongwe, Malawi,” according to a State Department press release. The PEPFAR initiative aims to “strengthen the quality and capacity of nursing and midwifery education institutions, increase the number of highly skilled nurses and midwives, and support innovative…
As international donors “remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector” in Malawi “amid allegations of pilfering and corruption in the procurement of drugs,” “patients seeking medical treatment at government-run medical facilities are unable to access medication such as antiretrovirals (ARVs), anti-malarial drugs and even painkillers,” Inter Press Service reports, adding, “Health facilities are also experiencing a shortage of medical equipment such as gloves, and malaria and HIV/AIDS testing kits.”
“In 2010, for the first time in more than 20 years, 140 midwives graduated in Laos but specialists say their skills may go untapped because the country’s women are not used to visiting health workers,” IRIN reports. “Only 34 percent of women in Laos seek the advice of medical professionals; even fewer see one when they are pregnant, according to government data from 2009-2010,” the news service writes.
A “year-long assessment done by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences concluded there is a strong rationale for Canada to play a more strategic role in global health, while recognizing the scale of humanitarian needs,” and to “focu[s] on five areas where its research is strongest, including indigenous health,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The report, released at the Global Health conference in Montreal on Sunday, identified five areas where Canada could have significant impact on global health, including public health programs, community-based primary health care, partnerships with developing countries in research/education and global health innovation,” the newspaper writes (Priest, 11/13).
Ethiopia has reduced its child mortality rates by more than half since 1990, from about 20 percent to 8.8 percent, “through campaigns to increase the number of health workers and clinics throughout the country, government and aid officials said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Reducing malnutrition, which is an underlying factor in at least half of all under-five deaths, has had a profound impact on the survival rates of children,” Ethiopia State Minister of Health Keseteberhan Admassu “told a gathering of representatives of United Nations agencies,” according to the news agency. “Keseteberhan said the nationwide malnutrition rate has been slashed by 32 percent, with prevalence to being underweight dropping to 28.7 percent in 2010 from 42.1 percent in 2000,” Reuters writes (Maasho, 11/11).