Document Type: Original Article
Human Resources Division, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana
Health Economics Unit, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
World Health Organization (WHO), Accra, Ghana
Ministry of Health, Accra, Ghana
Ghana is implementing activities towards universal health coverage (UHC) as well as the attainment of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the health sector by the year 2030. Aside lack of empirical forecast of the required healthcare facilities to achieve these mandates, health workforce deficits are also a major threat. We therefore modelled the needed healthcare facilities in Ghana and translated it into year-by-year staffing requirements based on established staffing standards.
Two levels of modelling were used. First, a predictive model based on Markov processes was used to estimate the future healthcare facilities needed in Ghana. Second, the projected healthcare facilities were translated into aggregate staffing requirements using staffing standards developed by Ghana’s Ministry of Health (MoH).
The forecast shows a need to expand the number/capacity of healthcare facilities in order to attain UHC. All things being equal, the requisite healthcare infrastructure for UHC would be attainable from 2023. The forecast also shows wide variations in staffing-need-availability rate, ranging from 15% to 94% (average being 68%) across the various staff types. Thus, there are serious shortages of staff which are worse amongst specialists.
Ghana needs to expand and/or increase the number of healthcare facilities to facilitate the attainment of UHC. Also, only about 68% of the health workforce (HWF) requirements are employed and available for service delivery, leaving serious shortages of the essential health professionals. Immediate recruitment of unemployed but qualified health workers is therefore imperative. Also, addressing health worker productivity, equitable distribution of existing workers, and attrition may be the immediate steps to take whilst a long-term commitment to comprehensively address HWF challenges, including recruitments, expansion and streamlining of HWF training, is pursued.
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