Health worker shortages in Zambia: An assessment of government responses


A dire health worker shortage in Zambia's national health programs is adversely impacting the quantity and quality of health care and posing a serious barrier to achieving Millennium Development Goals to improve population health. In 2005, Zambia's Ministry of Health developed a 10-year strategic plan for human resources for health to address the crisis through improved training, hiring, and retention. The plan has neither arrested nor reduced the shortage. We review the causes of the shortage, present results from a health worker survey showing that safe work conditions, manageable workloads, and career advancement opportunities matter more to respondents than financial compensation. We comment on the adequacy of government efforts to address the health worker shortage.


Gow, J.; George, G.; Mutinta, G.; Mwamba, S.; Ingombe, L.Health worker shortages in Zambia: An assessment of government responses. Journal of Public Health Policy (2011) 32 (4) 476-488. [DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2011.41]

Published 1 January 2011