The implications of shortages of health professionals for maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.Abstract: This paper discusses the implications of shortages of midwives, nurses and doctors for maternal health Maternal health care is a concept that encompasses preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care. Goals of preconception care can include providing health promotion, screening and interventions for women of reproductive age to reduce risk factors that might affect future pregnancies. and health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract in sub-Saharan Africa, and inequitable distribution of maternal health professionals between geographic areas and health facilities. Shortages of health professionals reduce the number of facilities equipped to offer emergency obstetric care 24 hours a day, and are significantly related to quality of care and maternal mortality rates. Some countries are experiencing depletion of theft workforces due to emigration emigration: see immigration; migration. and HIV-related illness. Another feature is the movement from public to private health facilities, and to international health and development organisations. The availability of skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care may be reduced due to understaffing, particularly in rural, poor areas. The existing workforce may experience increased workloads and job dissatisfaction, and may have to undertake tasks for which they are not trained. If governments and development partners are serious about reaching the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health, substantial numbers of professionals with midwifery midwifery (mĭd`wī'fərē), art of assisting at childbirth. The term midwife for centuries referred to a woman who was an overseer during the process of delivery. In ancient Greece and Rome, these women had some formal training. skills will be needed. Shortages of maternal health professionals should be addressed within overall human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. policy. A rethink of health sector reforms and macro-economic development policies is called for, to focus on equity and strengthening the role of the state.
Keywords: maternal health, human resources, midwives, staff turnover and attrition, Africa
Cet article examine les consequences du manque man·qué
Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one's ambitions or capabilities: an artist manqué; a writer manqué. de sages-femmes, d'infirmieres et de medecins pour les services de sante maternelle et de sante en Afrique sub-saharienne, et la repartition re·par·ti·tion
1. Distribution; apportionment.
2. A partitioning again or in a different way.
tr.v. re·par·ti·tioned, re·par·ti·tion·ing, re·par·ti·tions
To partition again; redivide. inegale des professionnels de sante maternelle entre zones geographiques et centres de sante. Ces penuries reduisent le nombre d'hopitals capables d'offrir des soins obstetriques d'urgence 24 heures sur 24, et influent in·flu·ent
Flowing in or into.
1. An inflow, especially a tributary.
2. Ecology A nondominant organism in a community that exerts an important modifying effect. sur la qualite des soins et les taux de mortalite maternelle. Dans certains pays, la main-d'oeuvre est appauvrie par l'emigration et les maladies 1iees au VIH VIH Virus de la Inmunodeficiencia Humana (Spanish: Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
VIH Virus d'Immuno-Deficience Humaine (French: HIV)
VIH Vancouver Island Helicopter
VIH Virtual Intelligent Hosting . Une autre caractefistique est le mouvement du public vers le prive Le Prive is the prototypical Korean club or "K-Club" in Los Angeles. Le Prive represents the most successful of the K-clubs in Koreatown ("K-Town") and is perhaps the largest Asian dance club in North America. , et vers les organisations internationales de sante et de developpement. Ce phenomene peut reduire la disponibilite d'accoucheuses formees et de soins obstetriques d'urgence, particulierement dans les zones rurales pauvres. Le personnel connait donc un surcroit de travail TRAVAIL. The act of child-bearing.
2. A woman is said to be in her travail from the time the pains of child-bearing commence until her delivery. 5 Pick. 63; 6 Greenl. R. 460.
3. , ce qui cree un mecontentement, et doit parfois accomplir des taches pour lesquels il n'a pas ete forme forme (form) pl. formes [Fr.] form.
forme fruste (froost) pl. formes frustes an atypical, especially a mild or incomplete, form, as of a disease. . Si les gouvernements et les partenaires de developpement veulent vraiment atteindre l'objectif du Millenaire pour le developpement en matihre de sante maternelle, il leur faudra former un nombre substantiel de professionnels en obstetrique. Les penuries de personnel de sante maternelle doivent etre corrigees dans le cadre de la politique globale des ressources humaines. Il convient de repenser les reformes du secteur de la sante et les politiques de developpement macro-economique, afin de se centrer sur l'equite et renforcer le role de l'Etat.
Este articulo articulo /ar·tic·u·lo/ (ahr-tik´u-lo) [L.] at the moment, or crisis.
articulo mor´tis at the point or moment of death. trata de la escasez de obstetrices, enfermeras y medicos en salud materna y servicios de salud general en Afica sub-Sahariana, y la distribuci6n no equitativa de profesionales de la salud materna entre zonas geograficas y los establecimientos de salud. La escasez de estos profesionales disminuye el numero de hospitales equipados para ofrecer cuidados obstetricos de emergencia las 24 horas del dia y esta relacionada en gran medida con la calidad de la atencion y las tasas de mortalidad materna. Algunos paises estan experimentando una reduccion de su poblacion activa debido a la emigracion y las enfermedades relacionadas con el VIH. Otro aspecto es la mudanza del sector publico hacia el privado, y a las organizaciones de salud y desarrollo internacional. La disponibilidad de parteras capacitadas y de cuidados obstetricos de emergencia podria reducirse debido a la falta de personal, particularmente en las zonas rurales pobres. La actual poblacion activa podria experimentar mayores cargas de trabajo e insatisfaccion en el, y verse obligada a realizar tareas para las cuales no esta capacitada. Si los gobiernos y los colaboradores de desarrollo estan verdaderamente comprometidos a lograr el Objetivo de Desarrollo para el Milenio respecto a la salud materna, se necesitaran muchos profesionales con habilidades en obstetricia. La escasez aqui mencionada debe tratarse como parte de la politica Politica is the undergraduate journal of the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Politica solicits original student essays on topics broadly political. general de recursos humanos. Para garantizar equidad y fortalecer la funcion del Estado, sera necesario reformular las reformas del sector salud y las politicas de desarrollo macroeconomico.
SUB-SAHARAN Africa continues to be the region with the greatest burden of maternal ill-health. Although the uncertainty associated with reliably measuring maternal mortality makes identification of trends and cross-country comparisons within sub-Saharan Africa difficult, (1) absolute levels remain high compared to other regions, ranging from around 24 (Mauritius) to 2,000 (Sierra Leone Sierra Leone (sēĕr`ə lēō`nē, lēōn`; sēr`ə lēōn), officially Republic of Sierra Leone, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,018,000), 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km), W Africa. ) maternal deaths to 100,000 live births. (2)
The causes of maternal mortality and morbidity are well known, and mainly result from the inability of a health system to deal effectively with complications, especially during or shortly after childbirth. (3) The availability of skilled health providers (particularly midwives, nurses, doctors and obstetricians) is critical in assuring high-quality antenatal an·te·na·tal
before parturition. Called also prenatal, antepartal. , delivery, emergency obstetric and post-natal services. Indeed, the Millennium Development Goal for maternal health is unlikely to be achieved without attention to the recruitment and retention of health professionals. (4)
This paper focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, a region with a large burden of maternal ill-health, where the workforce situation is considered to be in crisis. (5) A systems view of workforce issues is taken, especially in relation to the potential to use innovative policy and management approaches to address problems. The paper also considers how HW/AIDS and economic circumstances make the "brain drain brain drain
The loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor through the movement of such labor to more favorable geographic, economic, or professional environments. " damaging, and some of the wider development policy and macro-economic forces affecting human resources for health care.
First, the evidence for current shortages and maldistribution of maternal health professionals is reviewed, with the role of international migration highlighted. Second, the paper considers how shortages of health professionals might affect maternal health through two inter-related processes: effects on the existing workforce and effects on maternal health care. The paper concludes by discussing actions needed to better manage human resources to ensure women (particularly in rural, poor areas) have access to good quality maternal health care. The paper also indicates how such shortages have wider implications for reproductive health Within the framework of WHO's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene care, including family planning family planning
Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of children within a family, largely to curb population growth and ensure each family’s access to limited resources. , sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
Evidence was obtained from searches in bibliographic databases, reports and unpublished papers, websites and enquiries to international experts. As the search concentrated on the English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. literature, the evidence presented may over-represent Anglophone African countries. The authors also draw upon their experiences of health systems research, consultancy and teaching, and learning from African health professionals taking postgraduate degrees at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, University of Leeds Organisation
The various schools, institutes and centres of the University are arranged into nine faculties, each with a dean, pro-deans and central functions:
Workforce issues in maternal health: shortages, maldistribution, migration and HIV/AIDS
Health workforce issues in sub-Saharan Africa have received much attention recently, (5-7) and the literature is reviewed here briefly, with a focus on maternal health service providers. The completeness, disaggregated detail and comparability of data on human resources numbers and flows in this region present difficulties for determining patterns and trends. (8) Identifying shortages also requires estimating workforce skill mix, distribution and patient-professional staffing norms, which are subject to debate. (5) "Shortage" is a relative term: the USA with a ratio of 773 nurses per 100,000 population reports a nursing short age, as does Uganda, with a ratio of 6 nurses per 100,000 population. (6)
Estimates of how many additional doctors, nurses and midwives are needed in sub-Saharan Africa to provide essential health interventions related to the Millennium Development Goals “MDG” redirects here. For other uses, see MDG (disambiguation).
The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that 192 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. range from 1-1.4 million. (5,9) Projecting future needs, WHO estimated that substantial shortages of professionals with midwifery skills need filling in sub-Saharan Africa to scale up to universal coverage for maternal, newborn and child health. (3) One study estimated that from 2002 levels, the number of staff in Tanzania would have to double by 2007 and triple by 2015, while in Chad, the numbers would have to increase nine times by 2015. (10) The largest gaps between requirements and availability of staff were for nurses and midwives.
Vacancy rates in posts related to maternal health services would give another measure of shortages, but few published estimates were found (and may not even be available in health ministries). The lack of such data hinders planning for the education, recruitment and placement of these workers. Some vacancy rates for all health posts in the public sector are available (Table 1), although they should be interpreted cautiously, as they reflect the constraints on the health systems (including economic constraints) rather than health needs, and are not specific to maternal health. (6)
Why do these shortages exist? The number of working maternal health professionals in a country's public health sector at any time will be affected by:
* inflows from training, immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. and employment in other sectors
* employment status: employed, unemployed or economically inactive
* outflows from death, disability, retirement, emigration, or to employment in other sectors.
The relative importance of these factors will vary by health system and geographic area, and over time. One inflow issue highlighted in international comparisons is the training of skilled birth attendants. In some African (and other) countries, midwifery is the only qualification required; in others, an additional year or two of midwifery training is routinely taken after a nursing qualification, with a higher commensurate salary. (7) However, many nurse-midwives subsequently work in nursing positions rather than midwifery positions. The financial and opportunity costs Opportunity costs
The difference in the actual performance of a particular investment and some other desired investment adjusted for fixed costs and execution costs. It often refers to the most valuable alternative that is given up. for training differ considerably under these two models, yet evidence to support decisions on the optimal duration and content of preservice training is weak. (3)
Two factors are depleting the number of health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. [AIDS and emigration. III-health due to HIV/AIDS in health workers is greatest in African countries with the highest adult HIV prevalence rates. Emigration has accelerated recently in countries such as Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Between 1998/99 and 2003/04, for example, the number of nurse-midwives from Ghana registering to work in the UK increased from 40 to 354; nurse-midwives from Zambia increased from 15 to 169, and nurse-midwives from South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. from 599 to 1689. (15) To put these figures into context, the number of registered nurses graduating in these countries was 257 in Ghana (2002), (7) 220 in Zambia (2003), (7)) and 1,538 in South Africa (2002). (16) *
The impact of emigration is affected by the size of the existing workforce and inflows (training and immigration) of professionals into the health system. Countries with relatively small workforces and inflows, like Malawi (Table 2), can be disproportionately affected by outward flows. Table 2 indicates another feature evident in the literature: the more qualified maternal health staff are more likely to seek employment internationally.
The distribution of staff between geographic areas and health facilities is as important as total numbers of maternal health professionals, however. A higher ratio of health professional to population in urban and richer areas, and in tertiary care tertiary care Managed care The most specialized health care, administered to Pts with complex diseases who may require high-risk pharmacologic regimens, surgical procedures, or high-cost high-tech resources; TC is provided in 'tertiary care centers', often facilities, is a general pattern, with associated under-staffing in rural, poor locations, and in primary health care facilities. (6,7,18) Primary health care facilities are more accessible than hospitals for the majority of the population, being more numerous and widely distributed Adj. 1. widely distributed - growing or occurring in many parts of the world; "a cosmopolitan herb"; "cosmopolitan in distribution"
bionomics, environmental science, ecology - the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms , and cheaper to use. They are usually staffed by nurses and midwives, who provide basic maternity care and referral to higher level facilities, along with other key mortality-preventing services such as family planning and (in some contexts) safe abortion.
Another feature in some African countries is the movement of health professionals from public to private (for-profit or not-for-profit) facilities, (19) and to international development, health and research organisations. (20) The impact on maternal health of movement from the public to the private sector will vary, depending on what services private providers offer, and their location, cost, and linkages with other health care. Evidence from South Africa suggests that over-medicalisation among private practitioners (e.g. high caesarean section rates) may be a problem, but higher quality antenatal care was also found. (19) Given that 75% of South African specialists work in the private sector, a question is raised about the quality of services available for women delivering in the public sector.
The reasons why maternal health professionals are emigrating from sub-Saharan Africa are well known. (20,21) Inter-related employment gradients along which "push" and "pull" factors operate include:
* salary, social security and benefits
* job satisfaction
* organisational environment and career opportunities, and
* availability of resources (infrastructure, equipment and supplies). (11)
These gradients operate within a political, economic and socio-cultural context. War, civil unrest and economic deterioration can be "push" factors (for example, the recent outflow of Zimbabwean health professionals). (22) One factor whose effect is more uncertain is international funding. Development policy emphases since the 1990s on economic stability and adjustments and health sector reforms, privatisation, user-fee payment systems, and workforce downsizing have coincided with increased emigration of health professionals. These policy shifts have paid insufficient attention to human resources issues, and have helped to undermine health worker morale and the public service ethos, with serious results for health systems, (19) leading to calls for a more explicit assessment of the human resources impact of reforms. (23)
Has HIV/AIDS affected emigration? In sub-Saharan African countries with a high HIV prevalence, perceived risk of occupational HIV infection over and above personal risk can be substantial, and usually is greater than actual risk. (20,24) It is unknown whether this high perceived risk, together with the contact with blood and body fluids during childbirth, may make midwifery a less popular profession, deter professionals from assisting in deliveries or fuel intentions to migrate to lower HW prevalence working environments. (7)
However, the pandemic pandemic /pan·dem·ic/ (pan-dem´ik)
1. a widespread epidemic of a disease.
2. widely epidemic.
Epidemic over a wide geographic area.
n. does have other, clear effects. A large proportion of health workers are living with HIV/AIDS, 18-41% in many sub-Saharan countries. (25) Absenteeism resulting from burnout Burnout
Depletion of a tax shelter's benefits. In the context of mortgage backed securities it refers to the percentage of the pool that has prepaid their mortgage. due to the excessive workload related to HIV/AIDS can be substantial. (6) In maternity care, this is due to dramatic increases in AIDS-related maternal illness and deaths from both direct (e.g. obstetric complications) and indirect causes (e.g. malaria, tuberculosis). (26) The need to scale up antiretroviral treatment can pull staff away from core services The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.
Please help [ improve the introduction] to meet Wikipedia's layout standards. You can discuss the issue on the talk page. such as maternal health, and away from public services Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services. into non-governmental organisations, which provide the bulk of antiretroviral programmes. Overall, the increased need for antiretroviral treatment and for intensified care for pregnant women with HIV/AIDS-related illnesses, coupled with a reduced ability to provide such care, in a context where health professionals are emigrating, moving to the private sector, caring for family members with HW/AIDS or themselves falling ill, place enormous strains on the health systems, including maternal health services.
Implications of shortages of health professionals for maternal health
What is the relationship between staffing levels, other human resources issues, access to services, quality of maternal health care and maternal health outcomes? The lack of evidence to connect these topics, especially from low-income countries, makes this difficult to answer.
A regression analysis In statistics, a mathematical method of modeling the relationships among three or more variables. It is used to predict the value of one variable given the values of the others. For example, a model might estimate sales based on age and gender. of data for 117 countries found that doctor, nurse and midwife densities were significantly related to maternal mortality rates, when per capita income Noun 1. per capita income - the total national income divided by the number of people in the nation
income - the financial gain (earned or unearned) accruing over a given period of time , female literacy and absolute poverty were controlled for. (27) Having an appropriate skill mix and team working for safe delivery are also suggested as important factors in reducing maternal mortality. Epidemiological data have shown that the proportion of births conducted by doctors versus midwives is a "powerful correlate of maternal mortality, emphasising the importance of partnerships between providers" (p.124). (28) Rather than simply focusing on whether there are skilled attendants (usually midwives) for all deliveries, these findings suggest it is also important to emphasise the accessibility of emergency obstetric care (provided mainly by doctors). It is important to note, however, that multivariate analyses are weakened by various unmeasured factors; for example, a professional qualification does not necessarily mean the provider is actually skilled, and the environment in which the professional is working may or may not be enabling, i.e. with adequate infrastructure, drugs and equipment.
Although such national-level multivariate analyses do not demonstrate causal mechanisms, two types of inter-related effects through which staff shortages may affect maternal health care and outcomes are suggested:
* effects on the existing workforce, caused by the "push" factors associated with staff attrition, and
* effects on maternal health care, including restricted availability of and access to services, and reduced volume and quality of services.
Effects of staff shortages on the existing workforce
"Many basic health facilities do not even have a midwife, so patients all come to the (tertiary) hospital and the workload has increased in the past years. You see the midwives sweating away; they cannot even have a cup of tea." (Principal Nursing Officer, tertiary hospital, The Gambia) (29)
Health professionals place considerable importance on the satisfaction they derive from providing good quality care, an intrinsic motivator to perform well and a strong determinant of overall patient satisfaction with care. (30) Working in an environment of under-staffing and attrition can reduce job satisfaction. Opportunities for collegial col·le·gi·al
a. Characterized by or having power and authority vested equally among colleagues: "He . . . interaction and support, identified as contributing to job satisfaction, are restricted. (31) Teamwork is an essential component of high quality maternal health care, and loss of team members can also reduce job satisfaction and lower morale. (32) With increasing workload and changing role expectations, levels of stress, fatigue and emotional exhaustion can increase, all of which compromise both quality and safety of care. Staff may need to work unpaid overtime to complete work to the level they are satisfied with. Less flexibility is available to take paid or unpaid leave, or to participate in staff development and training activities, with effects on both quality of care and opportunities for career development. (33) A continued inability to provide quality care can contribute to job dissatisfaction, stress, demotivation and intentions to seek other employment, creating a vicious cycle Noun 1. vicious cycle - one trouble leads to another that aggravates the first
positive feedback, regeneration - feedback in phase with (augmenting) the input of staff attrition.
Moreover, existing staff may have to take on new roles, whether outside their usual scope of practice, or inappropriate to their level of experience. The unintentional and unsupported substitution of tasks, as an emergency response to lack of staff, is likely to reduce quality of care. Examples exist of midwives and nurses providing basic emergency obstetric care in remote rural areas where doctors are absent, (34) and there are anecdotal reports of untrained staff having to deliver babies. (35) Ward attendants, relatives and escorts may have to do more basic patient care (bathing, feeding, escorting) due to staff shortages. (29,35)
However, the intentional and supported substitution of tasks, or enhancement of the roles and skills of a lower-level cadre, may increase the efficiency and quality of services, if carefully planned and managed. Several countries (for example, Burkina Faso Burkina Faso (burkē`nə fä`sō), republic (2005 est. pop. 13,925,000), 105,869 sq mi (274,200 sq km), W Africa. It borders on Mali in the west and north, on Niger in the northeast, on Benin in the southeast, and on Togo, Ghana, and , Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia) use mid-level health staff to manage clinical services, including obstetric complications and caesarean deliveries. The annual production of these workers can match or exceed the production of doctors. (36) Although few studies are available, comparisons of surgical procedures Surgical procedures have long and possibly daunting names. The meaning of many surgical procedure names can often be understood if the name is broken into parts. For example in splenectomy, "ectomy" is a suffix meaning the removal of a part of the body. "Splene-" means spleen. and caesarean deliveries performed by doctors and their substitutes in Mozambique suggest that with adequate supervision and support, clinical decision-making and outcomes by substitutes can be as good as with professional staff. (37,38)
The extent of departures by health professionals makes it difficult for managers to maintain adequate staffing and quality of care. (20) For example, 57 registered nurses left the main teaching hospital in the Gambia from 1998 to 2003, contributing to a vacancy rate of 33% in 2003. In the same period, about 223 registered nurses graduated nationally. Thus, the equivalent of one-fourth of the graduates left the country from one teaching hospital. (29) 0f those leaving, 36 (630/0) did not give the required period of notice, and some gave no notice. When working under bureaucratic civil service rules, human resources managers lack the ability to recruit even temporary staff quickly. In a context of overall shortages, managers may not even bother advertising for vacancies that they know are difficult to fill, for example, in less desirable locations. (32) The financial and other costs associated with high staff turnover and recruitment put considerable strain on budgets and management capacity.
Many countries have decentralised responsibilities for staff recruitment to lower levels of the health system, but the necessary management capacity needs time and resources to be developed. An example of the effects of inadequate human resources management and attention to health worker motivation comes from South Africa, where physical and verbal abuse verbal abuse Psychology A form of emotional abuse consisting of the use of abusive and demeaning language with a spouse, child, or elder, often by a caregiver or other person in a position of power. See Child abuse, Emotional abuse, Spousal abuse. of women in midwife obstetric units was documented. (39)
Lastly, the nature of migration flows means a few staff leaving may accelerate staff attrition. The remaining staff observe that finding new employment is possible, and may learn from the experience, or follow the route, of departing staff.
Effects of shortages on maternal health care
"At the workplace there are always staff shortages. This hospital is very busy. We have about 80 deliveries in 24 hours. So you can imagine how I manage with my skeleton staff skeleton staff n → personal m reducido
skeleton staff n → effectifs réduits
skeleton staff skeleton n → . It has not been very easy. You cannot satisfy your clients. Because if there are long queues, you are trying to fight to finish the long queue and you don't have time to talk to your client to counsel her ... So you don't satisfy the client and you don't satisfy yourself. You are also frustrated. The queue is too long. You become so irritable. You don't even want to hear anybody talking. Then you frustrate the employer since you are not giving quality services." (Nurse, urban hospital, Kenya) (40)
What is the relationship between staffing shortages and quality of patient care? Most evidence comes from high-income country health systems, and generally supports the intuitive association between shortages and reduced quality of care. A review of "safe staffing" levels for nursing care suggested an inverse relationship A inverse or negative relationship is a mathematical relationship in which one variable decreases as another increases. For example, there is an inverse relationship between education and unemployment — that is, as education increases, the rate of unemployment between registered nurse staffing levels and patient mortality, and that work stress (including overtime) has adverse effects in terms of staff injury and illness, but less clear effects on patient outcomes. (41) A Cochrane Review of delivery care showed that the continuous presence of a support person reduced the need for pain relief and operative deliveries and led to better condition of the newborn. (42) A UK study reported that midwifery shortages and poor deployment led to adverse events such as personal injury and frequent near-misses, such as delays in carrying out emergency caesarean sections, which had fortunately not resulted in injury to the mother or infant. (43)
However, little published research from sub-Saharan Africa exists on the effects of staff shortages on the quality of care, particularly for maternal health. Currently, safe motherhood initiatives are centred on two inter-related strategies: skilled attendants at delivery and emergency obstetric care. Both need an enabling environment, which includes adequate equipment, supplies, referral systems and effective human resources training, supervision and deployment. (3)
A needs assessment of five countries in Africa highlighted how shortages of health professionals reduced the number of facilities equipped to offer emergency obstetric care (basic and comprehensive), and the number that could be open 24 hours a day. (44) As expected, coverage was worse in rural and isolated areas. Some facilities would contact health professionals to respond to emergencies out of hours, but the effectiveness of this depends on the communication infrastructure and the distance between the facility and the professional's residence. In Tanzania, availability of qualified staff was found to be an important determinant of utilisation of emergency obstetric care, alongside other factors of staff motivation, availability of equipment and drugs, and management capacity. (18)
Other related mechanisms through which staff shortages may result in reduced quality of care include:
* Increased workload
Reported nurse-patient ratios in Malawi of 1:120 in general wards, 1:50 for maternity and paediatrics, (35) 1:26 for neonatal and 1:51 for gynaecological adj. 1. Of or pertaining to gynecology; same as gynecological.
Adj. 1. gynaecological - of or relating to or practicing gynecology; "gynecological examination"
gynecologic, gynecological patients, (45) were perceived by professionals as too low for safe patient care. A study in Zimbabwe from 1995-2000 of fluctuations in workload for doctors, pharmacists, midwives and nurses found an approximate doubling in workload over three years for midwives in a polyclinic polyclinic /poly·clin·ic/ (-klin´ik) a hospital and school where diseases and injuries of all kinds are studied and treated.
n. (primary health centre). (20)
* Increased waiting times
At a minimum these reduce patient satisfaction (leading to decreased utilisation), but in an obstetric emergency can cause delays resulting in death, illness or disability for mother and infant.
* Reduced time for the patient
The inability of nurses to monitor closely the condition of acutely ill patients, and to react quickly, has been associated with higher patient mortality. (46)
* Poorer infection control
Evidence on the prevalence and causes of postpartum postpartum /post·par·tum/ (post-pahr´tum) occurring after childbirth, with reference to the mother.
Of or occurring in the period shortly after childbirth. infections in women in sub-Saharan Africa is lacking. However, newborns are highly vulnerable to infection and their deaths from infection are commonly reported. In a 2005 infection outbreak at a South African hospital, resulting in 21 neonatal deaths, contributory factors cited were high bed occupancy rates, poor infection prevention, staff shortages and heavy staff workloads. (47)
The fatal results of such mechanisms are demonstrated in Malawi. One hospital in ten is closed due to lack of staff; in some, shortages of midwives result in hospital cleaning staff carrying out deliveries. In rural areas, one midwife may have to run the whole health centre 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (3) The declining quality of care and use of health facilities for delivery, and the increase in maternal deaths from HW/AIDS, have resulted in a dramatic deterioration in maternal health over the past decade. (3)
Other indirect effects can also reduce the quality of maternal health care. The loss of "institutional memory" from large staff turnover results in a duplication of work and wastage wastage
a loss of product or productivity; in terms of animal production includes losses due to deaths of animals, lowered production from survivors, including reproduction, and lost opportunity income.
wastage Fetal wastage, see there of resources. This is especially relevant for rapidly evolving programmes in reproductive health, HW/AIDS and tuberculosis, where strategies must be reinvented and re-taught, due to the loss of key personnel and the resulting loss of continuity. Emigration of academics and experienced supervisory personnel can also lead to deficiencies in the professional attachment and supervision of new graduates, or within training institutes. For example, at Ndola Central Hospital, Zambia, 2003, only 32% of sanctioned staff in the School of Nursing and Midwifery were in place. (48)
The loss of professional leadership more generally is a particular worry. The International Council of Nurses considers leadership development as a critical underpinning for improving both clinical and managerial aspects of utilising the skills of nurses, and provides support to national nurses' associations in many countries to develop capacity to deal with human resources issues. (6) Nursing, midwifery and obstetrics councils and organisations have key advocacy and policy development roles which can be undermined by the loss of even a few professional leaders. Experienced academics and managers can train and mentor the next generation of professionals, conduct research to guide health and staff policies, and contribute to the overall development of the health sector. However, such leaders are never numerous and may be the most "exportable" of health professionals.
"Adequate human resource availability is ... central for any large-scale attempt to increase the reach of health systems. Further, human resource availability is likely to determine the capacity to absorb additional financial resources and thus the pace of scaling up." (10)
Globally, over the next decade, an extra 334,000 professionals with midwifery skills need to be produced and 140,000 upgraded. (3) Additionally, 27,000 doctors and technicians need to learn skills to back up maternal and newborn care. WHO estimates that US$91 billion is needed to scale up maternal and newborn services; it further estimates that a doubling or even trebling of salaries would be the minimum necessary to recruit and retain staff. (3) These are breathtaking numbers. The possibility of finding such resources is uncertain. Increasing public sector health workers' salaries, to the exclusion of other sectors and professions, would be politically and economically difficult. (49) Even if developing countries did increase their workforces, health care expenditures would still have to fit within economic growth projections and requirements for fiscal sustainability. (50)
Shortages and maldistribution of health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa are not new phenomena, and in some locations, health workers, managers and communities may perceive them as "normal". (51) The past five years, however, have seen some health systems losing many more maternal health professionals, particularly due to emigration and HW-related ill health. Poor and rural women are disproportionately affected, as they are left to receive services from overstretched, under-qualified staff, from traditional, unqualified health practitioners, or from private, often expensive facilities.
Globally, maternal mortality has declined significantly since the 1980s. This is strongly associated with the use of skilled attendants at delivery, which has increased from around 42% to 52% in the developing world. (1) Caesarean delivery (an indicator of access to life-saving care for obstetric complications in areas of very low access to health care) increased from 2% to 14% in Asia and North Africa. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, little change occurred in the use of skilled attendants (from 40% to 43%), caesarean delivery increased only from 3% to 4% over the decade, and maternal mortality remained at the highest level in the world, 920 deaths per 100,000 live births. (1)
What is needed to improve maternal health outcomes? A simplistic sim·plism
The tendency to oversimplify an issue or a problem by ignoring complexities or complications.
[French simplisme, from simple, simple, from Old French; see simple response is: to make sure that all women use skilled care during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period. But how can the health system provide services to ensure high levels of utilisation? Clearly, adequate numbers and distribution of health professionals are necessary, but not sufficient. Staff must provide quality care: both responsive care that makes services more attractive to mothers and communities, and care that meets professional standards. Although this paper has focused on the availability of staff and facilities for pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, other services are also critical in reducing maternal mortality. For example, midwives and nurses who provide family planning, safe abortion and post-abortion care, especially at primary care levels, are key to reducing the estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide from complications of unsafe abortion. (3)
More evidence is emerging on the inter-relatedness of job satisfaction, staff retention, staffing levels, skill mix, good human resources management practices, good quality health care and positive health outcomes. Organisational cultures which incorporate flexible employment practices to enable staff to combine work and non-work commitments are particularly helpful to maternal health care providers, many of whom are women. Participatory decision-making, team-working, opportunities for professional development, and adequate pay and recognition are welcomed by all staff, but are especially important for midwives and nurses in physician-dominated health systems. All these factors are associated with lower turnover, increased job satisfaction and better health outcomes. To reduce the "push" factors in migration, these practices must be designed for local contexts and labour markets; a "one-size-fits-all" approach will not work, even within one country.
At local district and facility levels, strategies to reduce attrition and re-attract departed health professionals are the most feasible and quickly implemented actions. In Ghana and the Gambia, for example, managers can provide financial incentives (soft loans for housing, bonuses for overtime work), allow part-time work and flexible work schedules for nurses and midwives, contract retired staff, and pay student nurses and midwives to work during their holidays. (29,33) The ability of managers to respond quickly and appropriately is determined by the policy environment; for example, autonomous hospitals and decentralised health systems have more flexibility to respond to human resources issues. It is critical that they also have the management capacity to do so. Since attrition of health professionals is likely to continue (if not increase) in the short-term in some countries, both human resources and maternal service managers must cooperate to determine how to improve staff management and obtain good performance in this complex environment.
At the national level, responses by governments to health professional shortages generally involve such actions as negotiating reduced recruitment by higher-income countries; improved workforce planning Strategic Workforce Planning involves analyzing and forecasting the talent that companies need to execute their business strategy, proactively rather than reactively, it is a critical strategic activity, enabling the organization to identify, develop and sustain the workforce ; revised legislation to enable mid-level providers to perform procedures currently restricted to medical practitioners; increasing inflow through training, and bonding graduates to work in the public sector [and sometimes rural locations) for a fixed term. Increasing training inflow is of fundamental importance, but is costly, takes time, and is dependent on increasing the number of teachers. Some health systems are being more flexible in recruiting trainees, e.g. accepting older adults, selecting trainees from difficult areas and training them locally in the hope they will be more likely to work there, or recognising auxiliary qualifications as part of professional training.
Overall, the health and equity implications of shortages and maldistribution of maternal health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa have not been well documented. Little reliable information exists on the numbers of health professionals who are leaving, and even less on the implications for access to, and quality of, maternal health care. The economic costs of staff attrition are largely unknown, and the cost-effectiveness of different models of nursing and midwifery training and deployment of different skill mixes has not been assessed. One prominent gap in the evidence-base is evaluations of human resources interventions to address shortages and maldistribution, and interventions to maintain accessibility and quality of maternal health care in this context. Without such evidence, civil society, professional organisations, national governments and development partners face difficulties in advocating effectively for the required responses.
If governments and development partners are serious about reaching the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health and protecting the reproductive rights Reproductive rights or procreative liberty is what supporters view as human rights in areas of sexual reproduction. Advocates of reproductive rights support the right to control one's reproductive functions, such as the rights to reproduce (such as opposition to forced of women, more attention is needed to address shortages of maternal health professionals, and overall human resources policy in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization is positioned to take international leadership, and the focus of the 2006 World Health Report on the health workforce reflects their increasing concern. Development assistance programmes of wealthy countries are only beginning to develop responses, for example, by funding recurrent salary expenditures, the expansion of training programmes, supporting health professionals to work in developing countries, or by allowing migrants to temporarily share their skills in their home countries without jeopardising their immigration status.
More fundamentally, a rethink of health sector reforms and overall macro-economic development policies is needed, to focus on equity, participation by the poor and strengthening the role of the state. The problems of low-income countries are often related to problems in wealthier countries, and in this case, the failure of wealthier countries to produce sufficient health professionals for their own populations is seriously affecting low-income countries. Finally and most challengingly, it must be recognised that the fundamental issue underlying the migration of health professionals from poor to better-off regions and countries, of inequitable access to health care, and of inequitable health outcomes, is the vast and unjustifiable difference in wealth between the few rich and the many poor countries.
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* Figures for nurses and midwives separately are not available and are therefore combined. Health professionals are usually required to register with a professional body in the receiving country when seeking employment, giving one source of data on emigration. However, not all receiving countries collate col·late
tr.v. col·lat·ed, col·lat·ing, col·lates
1. To examine and compare carefully in order to note points of disagreement.
2. To assemble in proper numerical or logical sequence.
3. or publish registration data by country of application (or nationality of applicant), and not everyone who registers in a receiving country actually migrates and takes up employment there.
Nancy Gerein, (a) Andrew Green Sir Andrew Green, KCMG was a British diplomat and is the chairman of Migration Watch, a pressure group concerned with what they see as high levels of immigration to the United Kingdom. , (b) Stephen Pearson Stephen Paul Pearson (born October 2, 1982 in Lanark) is a Scottish footballer, currently playing for Premier League team Derby County. Early career
As a boy, Pearson attended the renowned Our Lady's High School in Motherwell and is one of the school's numerous famous (c)
(a) Lecturer, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, Institute of Health Sciences and Public Health Research, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. E-mail: email@example.com
(b) Professor, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development
(c) Senior Research Fellow, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development
Table 1. Vacancy rates for public sector health posts, selected countries Registered Doctors Year nurses Ghana 57% 47% 2000 (11) Lesotho 48% 8% 1998 (12) Malawi 47% 36% 1998 (12,13) Namibia 3% 26% 1998 (12) Zimbabwe 40% 55% 2004 (14) Table 2. Total output and number of cadres emigrating, Malawi, 1993-200217 Cadre Total Number % of graduates emigrating total Obstetrician-gynaecologists 5 1 20% General practitioners, medical officers 164 14 9% Registered nurse-midwives 209 166 79% Registered nurses 445 167 38% Enrolled nurses 1,200 19 2%