Only one skilled health professional for every 1,000 inhabitants. A population that has doubled from 21 to over 40 million people in the last ten years. An expenditure of USD 51 per capita on health out of which only USD 8 comes from public domestic sources. This is the present-day situation in Uganda, a country that has been facing a huge shortage of human resources for health (HRH) for many years, with a direct and devastating impact on numerous population health indicators, particularly on maternal mortality rates.
This week, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its Youth, Education & Employment Strategy, ‘Youth at Heart’. With this strategy, for which we provided input last summer, the Dutch government aims to invest in more perspective for young people in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) regions, with a focus on education and employment. In our opinion, investing in health worker jobs for these regions’ young populations would both improve their career opportunities and future, while at the same time tackle the large health workers shortage that many of these countries face.
Access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has still not been achieved in many countries and regions. For example, in Africa, 24.2% of women of reproductive age have an unmet need for family planning. SRHR can only be supported and enabled in a country with a strong, responsive and well-functioning health system. This health system should be sustainably financed, and properly staffed with sufficient and skilled health workers. In our short paper, we explain why a strong health system is a prerequisite for SRHR.
If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), we will need to do better for women and children. They are disproportionately exposed to poverty-related and neglected diseases. How can biomedical Research & Development (R&D) and policy improve this (gender) gap? Director Mariëlle Bemelmans will join a panel discussion on this topic at the event ‘Healthcare, Gender and Inclusive R&D: How can we do better for women and children?’, jointly organized by DNDi, FIND, IAVI, IPM, MMV and TB Alliance, at 7AM in The Hague on February 13th.