Ethiopia plans yet another surge in medical schools enrolment
Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Teodros Adhanom has detailed the Ministry’s plans to sharply increase the number of health professionals in the country over the next "three to four years" in order to save the country’s public health system.
This has been losing doctors and specialists to internal and external migration, while failing to meet the demand because of infrastructural and material gaps.
Now, says Dr. Teodros, the country is "implementing strategies to increase the current numbers of medical doctors and retain them in public hospitals".
At the moment, the numbers have fallen below the World Health Organization standards. Already, the enrolment rate in the country’s medical schools has risen to more than 3,100 a year; a tenfold increase over the less-than-300 enrolled in 2005.
Dr. Teodros said “in the next two, three to four years, the country’s enrolment rate for health professionals could go to six or eight thousand." Once these students start to graduate, the problem regarding shortage of physicians in the country "will [have] considerably stabilized".
A draft of the country’s Human Resource for Health Strategic Plan shows an intended increase in the number of physicians to 1 per 5,000 by 2020. The plan seems on course. The government is also allowing doctors to work privately during off-hours and at weekends. This is helping to provide them with additional sources of income, reducing their interest to go elsewhere and encouraging them to remain in Ethiopia.
* Originally published on A Week in the Horn, on Aug. 17, 2012, titled “Ministry of Health’s plans to strengthen Ethiopia’s health system”. Republished here with a permission to do so.
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