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The Human Resources for Health Crisis in Zambia

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Heavy workloads are most often a ributed to communicable diseases and increased a ention to scaling up service response. The number of people in Zambia treated for HIV/AIDS has risen dramatically in recent years (table 5.1). The increase in external funding to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis more heavily burdens health workers who must now implement newly funded projects in addition to carrying out their regular responsibilities. In Lusaka, a survey found that 76.5 percent of workers provide HIV/AIDS services in addition to other services. Corresponding percentages in Kabwe and Mumbwa were 60.6 percent and 69.4 percent, respectively. Also, almost all workers (99 percent) were involved in providing non-HIV/AIDS services. Key informants have observed that the Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives have negatively influenced staffing levels and workloads by increasing HIV/AIDS services, augmenting at the same time the demand on staff (Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network 2008). Table 5.1. The number of people undergoing antiretroviral therapy is rising Year

People receiving antiretroviral therapy

2003

3,000

2004

24,000

2005

50,000

2006

75,000

2007

118,000

2009

257,000

Source: Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network 2008; USAID 2010.

Heavy workloads may also stem from inadequate health facility management. High absenteeism, tardiness, and extended sick leave affect the staff members who must work extra hours to compensate. Staff members can also opt for further training, and sometimes two or more members from the same facility take study leave simultaneously, crippling the facility’s capacity to manage its workload. Given Picazo’s findings (2008), this suggests that human resources are not managed effectively at the facility level. Inadequate equipment and supplies

Inadequate medical resources and supplies is another factor negatively affecting key performance variables. One study found that many health workers complain of poor equipment, supplies, and materials (table 5.2). The funding of and investment in public health facilities is poor. When the purchaser and provider function of the MoH was disconnected in 2004 (that is, Zambia’s experiment with decentralizing key HRH functions and other functions), the additional resources obtained from grants and other revenue Table 5.2. Few health workers believe they have access to adequate equipment (percent) Lusaka (n = 69)

Kabwe (n = 71)

Mumbwa (n = 35)

Issue

A

D

U

A

D

U

A

D

U

In the last 12 months, you have had the equipment, supplies and materials to carry out the job properly

43

3

54

27

4

69

51

6

43

Source: Global HIV/AIDS Initiatives Network 2008. Note: A=Agree; D=Disagree; U=Undecided.

The Human Resources for Health Crisis in Zambia  

Despite reporting some health gains since the 1990s, health outcomes remain poor in Zambia and it will be very challenging to achieve the he...

The Human Resources for Health Crisis in Zambia  

Despite reporting some health gains since the 1990s, health outcomes remain poor in Zambia and it will be very challenging to achieve the he...