KENYA — The United Kingdom has pledged a substantial financial boost to support healthcare staff recruitment and retention in three African nations: Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.

This investment, totaling £15 million (US$18.7 million) from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget for 2022 to 2025, is aimed at enhancing the resilience of these countries in facing global health challenges.

Recognizing the pivotal role of healthcare professionals in low and middle-income countries in improving health outcomes and achieving universal health coverage, the funding seeks to provide people in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana with access to comprehensive healthcare services when needed.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of global collaboration in tackling health threats, which placed significant pressure on healthcare systems worldwide.

The pandemic exacerbated workforce retention challenges while increasing the demand for healthcare personnel.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated a shortage of ten million health workers globally by 2030, posing a threat to the achievement of universal health coverage and potentially exacerbating global health disparities.

Addressing critical workforce challenges is crucial for strengthening health systems and enhancing global resilience against future pandemics.

This investment aims to protect people around the world, including those in the UK, by ensuring effective responses to health threats.

Health minister’s perspective

Health Minister Will Quince emphasized the significance of highly skilled healthcare staff and expressed delight in supporting the training, recruitment, and retention of skilled healthcare workforces in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.

He highlighted the funding’s potential to strengthen health systems in these countries, which, in turn, would contribute to global pandemic preparedness and reduce health inequalities.

Minister Quince emphasized the interdependence of global health, emphasizing that the safety of patients in the UK is linked to global resilience against health threats.

Six million pounds (US$7.5 million) from the ODA funding will support the WHO in delivering health workforce planning and capacity-building initiatives.

These efforts will include improving administration systems, providing training and retention opportunities, and collaborating with local governments and health system stakeholders.

As part of this initiative, the Department of Health and Social Care will administer a £9 million (US$11.2 million) two-year competitive grant scheme for a not-for-profit organization to coordinate partnership work in the participating countries.

Enhancing workforce quality and retention

The partnership programs for healthcare workforces will involve linking UK institutions with local health systems, facilitating skills exchanges, and enhancing the curriculum, regulations, and guidance in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.

The designated coordinator, the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), will oversee the partnership work, driving improvements in the quality and retention of healthcare staff in these countries, ultimately benefiting patients and healthcare systems.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.