Editorials Making a Difference

Improving palliative care in Africa

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1566 (Published 23 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1566
  1. Richard A Powell, monitoring and evaluation and research manager,
  2. Faith N Mwangi-Powell, executive director
  1. 1African Palliative Care Association, Kampala, Uganda
  1. tony.powell{at}apca.co.ug

    Selection, training, and retention of community based volunteers is a priority

    In March 2008 the first Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was held in Uganda. Two subsequent documents—the Kampala Declaration and the Global Action Plan for Human Resources for Health1 2—have established a 10 year plan for a coordinated national, regional, and global response to the worldwide health workforce crisis.

    The existence of this crisis, which jeopardises attaining the Millennium Development Goals for many resource poor countries, is unquestionable. Dr Francis Omaswa, executive director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Health Workforce Alliance, stated before the meeting, “The crisis is characterised by widespread global shortages, maldistribution of personnel within and between countries, migration of local health workers, and poor working conditions.”3

    Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected region—it includes 36 of the 57 countries that have an acute crisis in terms of human resources for health.4 Although it contains 11% of the world’s population and 24% of the global disease burden, sub-Saharan Africa has only 3% of the world’s health workers,5 so many of its countries cannot provide access …

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