Rebecca Ejifoma

With statistics showing a slack in the number of workers in the health workforce, theLagos State government has concluded plansto adopt its Human Resources for Health (HRH) policy in order to identify, highlight, strengthen and proffer solution as way forward.

This was stated at the final pre-validation of a Situation Analysis Report and the draft HRH held recently at the Genesis Hotel, GRA, Ikeja to provide the framework for building a strong workforce that will help the state attain and sustain progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Coordinated by the Lagos State HRH Technical Working Group (TWG), with guidance from the Directorate of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS), Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH), the Health Professionals Integration Unit (HPIU), with support from Save the Children International (SCI), the documents have been subjected to a series of intensive technical reviews since last June.

“The HRH Situational Assessment report is carried out today to determine the current health workforce information, the availability and distribution of human resource for health in the state and also to establish the trend and progress made by the health sector in the relevant HRH indicators,” the Chief Executive Officer/Principal Consultant, Affinity Consulting, Akaoma Onyemelukwe, explained.

Stating that the assessment is the second in the history of strengthening HRH in Lagos State, she continued that the current number of health workers in the state had declined from 14,984 workers in 2010 to a total of 13,724 in 2016. The private sector was reported to have a higher number of workers estimated at 23,001.

She, however, attributed the current decline in the number of health workers to inaccuracy in documentation, brain drain and retirements. “This report shows that the state has an estimated 17.30 doctors and nurses per 10,000 population to deliver essential maternal and child health services as against 23 per 10,000 population recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).”

She, therefore, urged: “Urgency is required to raise these numbers for the state to achieve SDGs and UHC.”

The expert said that findings show that health sector/function budget allocation between 2010 and 2015 range within 7 per cent to 9.76 per cent of the Lagos State budget with a public expenditure average of 8.1 per cent. About 40 per cent of the recurrent expenditure in the budget is expended on the payment of salaries for HRH.

While maintaining that the Lagos health sector remuneration is better than other sectors but not competitive with private sector jobs, she said Lagos HRH institutions within the public sector have 66.21 per cent females working across the health sector with 33.78 per cent males.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris described the pre-validation of the documents as an indication of the state’s commitment towards improving human planning, development and management which is instrumental in the overhaul of the health system.