The United Kingdom will grant a multi-million pound boost to promote health workers recruitment and retention in three African nations – Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana – in order to strengthen resilience in the face of global health concerns.
15 million pounds will be invested from the ring-fenced Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget for 2022-2025 to optimize, build, and improve the health workforce in the three African countries. Recognizing the importance of the health workforce in low- and middle-income countries in improving health outcomes and attaining universal health coverage, the financing will provide individuals in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana with access to the complete spectrum of health services they require, when they require it.
The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of the UK working closely with international partners to combat global health concerns, which put significant strain on the NHS. The epidemic has also exacerbated labor retention concerns around the world, while demand for healthcare professionals has soared. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts a global shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030, threatening global universal health coverage and potentially worsening global health inequities.
Addressing important workforce challenges is critical to improving health systems and increasing global resilience against future pandemics, ensuring that people around the world, including those in the UK, are protected.
“Highly skilled, resilient staff are the backbone of a strong health service,” said Health Minister Will Quince, “so I’m delighted we can support the training, recruitment, and retention of skilled health workforces in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.”
“This funding aims to make a real difference in strengthening the performance of health systems in each of the participating countries, which will have a knock-on effect in boosting global pandemic preparedness and reducing health inequalities.” “The pandemic demonstrated that patients in the UK are not safe unless the world as a whole is resilient to health threats, and this will assist us in meeting that ambition.”
Six million pounds from the ODA financial pledge will help WHO deliver health workforce planning and capacity-building initiatives in conjunction with local governments and health system stakeholders, such as enhanced administration systems and training and retention opportunities.
The Department of Health and Social Care will also launch a £9 million two-year competitive funding scheme for a not-for-profit organization to co-ordinate delivery of partnership work in participating nations as part of this package. The health workforce collaboration programs involve connecting UK institutions with local health systems, facilitating skill exchanges, and strengthening curriculum, regulation, and advice in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
The delivery co-ordinator will be in charge of organizing, funding, and supervising this activity in order to increase the quality and retention of healthcare workers in the three countries, and thereby contribute to assure improved patient outcomes.
The funding adds to the £5 million already committed as part of the Building the Future International Workforce ODA program in Ghana, Uganda, and Somaliland, which aims to improve health workforce planning and management, provide training opportunities for refugees and displaced people, and connect NHS institutions with country health institutions.
Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana were chosen for the ODA award because they demonstrated a significant need for workforce support, as illustrated by high population mortality rates, low staff numbers, and unemployment among qualified health workers.
The Department of Health and Social Care sponsored a £9 million 2-year competitive funding scheme for a not-for-profit organization to co-ordinate delivery of partnership work in participating countries as part of the £15 million Global Health Workforce Programme announced on 19 May 2023.
The health workforce collaboration programs involve connecting UK institutions with local health systems, facilitating skill exchanges, and strengthening curriculum, regulation, and advice in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
The grant competition ended on June 23, 2023, with three proposals submitted and evaluated. The Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) has been awarded a grant from the Department of Health and Social Care. The Tropical Health and Education Trust will be in charge of establishing, supporting, and managing this collaborative effort to improve the quality and retention of healthcare workers in the three nations, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes.