1World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region Office, Brazzaville, Congo
2SUN Business Network, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Abuja, Nigeria
3Department of Health System Policies and Operations, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) Brazzaville, Congo
The changing demands on the health sectors in low- and middle-income countries especially sub-Saharan African countries continue to challenge efforts to address critical shortages of the health workforce. Addressing these challenges have led to the evolution of “non-physician clinicians” (NPCs), that assume some physician roles and thus mitigate the continuing shortage of doctors in these countries. While it is agreed that changes are needed in physicians’ roles and their training as part of the new continuum of care that includes NPCs, we disagree that such training should be geared solely at ensuring physicians dominated health systems. Discussions on the workforce models to suit low-income countries must avoid an endorsement of a culture of physician focused health systems as the only model for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It is also essential that training for NPCs be harmonized with that of physicians to clarify the technical roles of both.
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