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Report Documents Doctor Shortages In Africa

Africa is facing “an acute shortage of doctors,” as trained professionals are lured away by higher salaries and benefits, according to a report released last week, New Vision reports.

The study, carried out by researchers from African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, George Washington University and the steering committee of the Sub-Saharan African Medical Schools, was presented in Kampala, Uganda, “on Thursday at a function presided over by [Ugandan] health minister Stephen Mallinga,” the news service writes.

“According to the report, Africa has an acute shortage of doctors, with only 3% of the world’s personnel, yet the continent bears the biggest disease burden at 24%,” New Vision writes. “‘Many types of health workers are required to maintain a working health system, but no health system will function well without an adequate corps of doctors to serve as clinicians, managers, teachers and policy makers,’ the researchers noted,” according to the news service.

During the launch of the report, Mallinga addressed how the shortages of doctors in Africa create barriers to reaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The authors of the report “advised that a campaign be launched to recruit, train and retain doctors in addition to giving them incentives. Other recommendations included provision of good training infrastructure and facilities, promotion of community-oriented education, based on primary healthcare, and revitilisation of the Association of Medical Schools in Africa,” according to New Vision (Mugisa/Wandawa, 11/14).