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Africa has a shortage of 5.3 million health workers. 

This was revealed by the Communication Officer of the World Health Organisation's Africa Regional Office, Marie France Uwase, at a media briefing on the preparations for the upcoming First Africa Health Workforce Investment Forum next week.

The African region is said to have made modest progress in health workforce development and service coverage over the last two decades.

Statistics indicate that the number of health workers has increased from 1.5 million in 2005 to about 3.6 million in 2018. 

Since 2013, the region has added at least one million doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and dentists, bringing the numbers to 2.8 million in 2020. 

Nevertheless, the African region continues to grapple with several challenges associated with health labour market failure or mismatch that require urgent investment actions. 

It's for this reason that the continent is expected to launch the African Health Workforce Investment Charter at the First Africa Health Workforce Investment Forum.

"So the charter comes as a strategic tool to mobilise investment to tackle that problem. So the forum will be launching that charter, but there is also a need to mobilise and put together commitments to use that tool in different countries in Africa," explained Marie France Uwase, Communication Officer at the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

Namibia will also receive recognition for its positive strides in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, congenital syphilis, and hepatitis B.

The country's data shows that the national maternal HIV prevalence among pregnant women visiting antenatal care was on a steady decline, at 12.57% in 2022, while maternal rates of syphilis declined to 3% in 2022. 

Dr. Andrew Agabu, Technical Advisor for PMTCT at the Health Ministry, explains that "On Monday, the WHO will recognise the effort Namibia has made towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, congenital syphilis, and hepatitis B virus. Therefore,  in the morning, there will be an award ceremony whereby the regional director of WHO is going to hand over a certificate to the government of Namibia, and the Prime Minister will receive that certificate."

The three-day Africa Health Workforce Investment Forum kicks off on Monday and will bring together approximately 170 delegates from 18 African countries.

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Photo Credits
Frontline Health Workers Coalition

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July Nafuka