ABSTRACT: Considerable attention has been given by policy makers and researchers to the human resources for health crisis in Africa. However, little attention has been paid to quantifying health facility-level trends in health worker numbers, distribution and workload, despite growing demands on health workers due to the availability of new funds for HIV/AIDS control scale-up. This study analyses and reports trends in HIV and non-HIV ambulatory service workloads on clinical staff in urban and rural district level facilities.
Structured surveys of health facility managers, and health services covering 2005-07 were conducted in three districts of Zambia in 2008 (two urban and one rural), to fill this evidence gap. Intra-facility analyses were conducted, comparing trends in HIV and non-HIV service utilisation with staff trends.
Clinical staff (doctors, nurses and nurse-midwives, and clinical officers) numbers and staff population densities fell slightly, with lower ratios of staff to population in the rural district. The ratios of antenatal care and family planning registrants to nurses/nurse-midwives were highest at baseline and increased further at the rural facilities over the three years, while daily outpatient department (OPD) workload in urban facilities fell below that in rural facilities. HIV workload, as measured by numbers of clients receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) per facility staff member, was highest in the capital city, but increased rapidly in all three districts. The analysis suggests evidence of task sharing, in that staff designated by managers as ART and PMTCT workers made up a higher proportion of frontline service providers by 2007.
This analysis of workforce patterns across 30 facilities in three districts of Zambia illustrates that the remarkable achievements in scaling-up HIV/AIDS service delivery has been on the back of sustained non-HIV workload levels, increasing HIV workload and stagnant health worker numbers. The findings are based on an analysis of routine data that are available to district and national managers. Mixed methods research is needed, combining quantitative analyses of routine health information with follow-up qualitative interviews, to explore and explain workload changes, and to identify and measure where problems are most acute, so that decision makers can respond appropriately. This study provides quantitative evidence of a human resource crisis in health facilities in Zambia, which may be more acute in rural areas.
BMC Health Services Research 01/2010; 10:272. · 1.66 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Much of the debate as to whether or not the scaling up of HIV service delivery in Africa benefits non-HIV priority services has focused on the use of nationally aggregated data. This paper analyses and presents routine health facility record data to show trend correlations across priority services.
Review of district office and health facility client records for 39 health facilities in three districts of Zambia, covering four consecutive years (2004-07). Intra-facility analyses were conducted, service and coverage trends assessed and rank correlations between services measured to compare service trends within facilities.
VCT, ART and PMTCT client numbers and coverage levels increased rapidly. There were some strong positive correlations in trends within facilities between reproductive health services (family planning and antenatal care) and ART and PMTCT, with Spearman rank correlations ranging from 0.33 to 0.83. Childhood immunisation coverage also increased. Stock-outs of important drugs for non-HIV priority services were significantly more frequent than were stock-outs of antiretroviral drugs.
The analysis shows scale-up in reproductive health service numbers in the same facilities where HIV services were scaling up. While district childhood immunisations increased overall, this did not necessarily occur in facility catchment areas where HIV service scale-up occurred. The paper demonstrates an approach for comparing correlation trends across different services, using routine health facility information. Larger samples and explanatory studies are needed to understand the client, facility and health systems factors that contribute to positive and negative synergies between priority services.
BMC Public Health 01/2010; 10:540. · 2.00 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Shortages of health workers are obstacles to utilising global health initiative (GHI) funds effectively in Africa. This paper reports and analyses two countries' health workforce responses during a period of large increases in GHI funds.
Health facility record reviews were conducted in 52 facilities in Malawi and 39 facilities in Zambia in 2006/07 and 2008; quarterly totals from the last quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2008 inclusive in Malawi; and annual totals for 2004 to 2007 inclusive in Zambia. Topic-guided interviews were conducted with facility and district managers in both countries, and with health workers in Malawi.
Facility data confirm significant scale-up in HIV/AIDS service delivery in both countries. In Malawi, this was supported by a large increase in lower trained cadres and only a modest increase in clinical staff numbers. Routine outpatient workload fell in urban facilities, in rural health centres and in facilities not providing antiretroviral treatment (ART), while it increased at district hospitals and in facilities providing ART. In Zambia, total staff and clinical staff numbers stagnated between 2004 and 2007. In rural areas, outpatient workload, which was higher than at urban facilities, increased further. Key informants described the effects of increased workloads in both countries and attributed staff migration from public health facilities to non-government facilities in Zambia to PEPFAR.
Malawi, which received large levels of GHI funding from only the Global Fund, managed to increase facility staff across all levels of the health system: urban, district and rural health facilities, supported by task-shifting to lower trained staff. The more complex GHI arena in Zambia, where both Global Fund and PEPFAR provided large levels of support, may have undermined a coordinated national workforce response to addressing health worker shortages, leading to a less effective response in rural areas.
Human Resources for Health 01/2010; 8:19. · 1.83 Impact Factor