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The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa: A New Look at the Crisis

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Sub-Saharan Africa has only 12 percent of the global population, yet this region accounts for 50 percent of child deaths, more than 60 percent of maternal deaths, 85 percent of malaria cases, and close to 67 percent of people living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has the lowest number of health workers in the world-significantly fewer than in South Asia, which is a Sub-Saharan Africa has only 12 percent of the global population, yet this region accounts for 50 percent of child deaths, more than 60 percent of maternal deaths, 85 percent of malaria cases, and close to 67 percent of people living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has the lowest number of health workers in the world-significantly fewer than in South Asia, which is at a comparable level of economic development. The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa uses the analytical tools of labor markets to examine the human resource crisis in health from an economic perspective. Africa's labor markets are complex, with resources coming from governments, donors, the private sector, and households. Low numbers of health workers and poor understanding of labor market dynamics are major impediments to improving health service delivery. Yet some countries in the region have developed innovative solutions with new approaches to creating a robust health workforce that can respond to the continent's health challenges. As Africa grows economically, the invaluable lessons in this book can help build tomorrow's African health systems.


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Sub-Saharan Africa has only 12 percent of the global population, yet this region accounts for 50 percent of child deaths, more than 60 percent of maternal deaths, 85 percent of malaria cases, and close to 67 percent of people living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has the lowest number of health workers in the world-significantly fewer than in South Asia, which is a Sub-Saharan Africa has only 12 percent of the global population, yet this region accounts for 50 percent of child deaths, more than 60 percent of maternal deaths, 85 percent of malaria cases, and close to 67 percent of people living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa, however, has the lowest number of health workers in the world-significantly fewer than in South Asia, which is at a comparable level of economic development. The Labor Market for Health Workers in Africa uses the analytical tools of labor markets to examine the human resource crisis in health from an economic perspective. Africa's labor markets are complex, with resources coming from governments, donors, the private sector, and households. Low numbers of health workers and poor understanding of labor market dynamics are major impediments to improving health service delivery. Yet some countries in the region have developed innovative solutions with new approaches to creating a robust health workforce that can respond to the continent's health challenges. As Africa grows economically, the invaluable lessons in this book can help build tomorrow's African health systems.

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