Parallel with the expansion of healthcare services in all corners of the country, substantial investment has been made to develop skilled health personnel both in terms of quality and quantity. The few number of health professionals has increased in many folds over the past years as a result of the efforts exerted on the basis of internal capacity. These health experts trained in the local colleges are discharging their duties to ensure the well-being of the society. Indeed, the task of upgrading human resources has pushed forward the development of health sector in the county. The Director General of Research and Human Resource Development Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Andom Oqbamariam, briefed Shabait regarding the activities of the Ministry in its upgrading manpower. Excerpts follow:
What investments were made to nurture health experts, last year?
Developing human resources through broadening educational opportunities and assigning these experts in the right posts is the main task of this department. In relation to this, gathering information about the nation’s health status and conducting research is also part of our work. Most of the educational programs outlined in 2009 are interconnected with the National Board of Higher Educational Institutions and medical schools are administrated under this national board. However, this Ministry carries out continuous medical education programs through distance learning and supervises assistant nurse schools in Ginda, Barentu and Mendefera concerning upgrading manpower. We also assign graduate students from colleges. In continuation to the 2009 plan, students who have attended distance learning would graduate on April 2011 as well as the 2nd batch of managing health service in nursing degree program. We will admit about 50 students in the same field this year.
What can we expect to achieve from the endeavors being undertaken?
Equipping human resource with knowledge and skill is crucial to ensure quality of health service providing the necessary facilities. Thus, it is a timely question to take the necessary measures to tackle shortage of manpower in this sector with the expansion of healthcare services. Increasing the number of doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, technicians and others to bringing dynamic change couldn’t be viewed lightly. The declining and eradication of different diseases demonstrated is the outcome of the total endeavors in terms of human resource and facilities.
Tell us about the recent graduates regarding their competence and educational opportunities?
The contribution of these medical graduate students in narrowing shortage of manpower and pushing forward the advancement of health sectors is very impressive. According to the research conducted last month, their work performance is admirable and it is an excellent platform for them to gain experience. Educational opportunities would be provided after working two years considering the need for skilled health personnel. However, our future plan is for these students to continue their education to the highest level once the shortage of manpower is completely addressed.
Can you talk about the future programs of the post-graduate education in this sector?
It is to be recalled that five specialized surgeons have graduated recently after pursuing their education for three years and are currently active. We have four pediatricians graduated this year, and four others in same field would graduate in 2012. Moreover, we have five 2nd year students attending a three-year program of obstetrics and gynecology. There is also a plan to begin internal medical program.
Furthermore, we have four students pursuing masters program abroad and others who completed education abroad are discharging their duties in various hospitals. This year also we have students preparing to go abroad to pursue their education, besides those who are attending lessons currently. Besides, health professionals from various countries conduct a working visit during which the local medical doctors could exchange experience and enrich their scope.
Could you enlighten us as to the best alternatives for reaching people in remote areas?
Our plan is to train health personnel from all ethnic groups and areas who can make major contribution living among the society. Still the number of the students we are looking for in colleges is not at the desired level, nevertheless, we will work hard on it. It is the mandate of the Ministry to organize skill-upgrading courses now and then, though it is not an easy task to provide such courses along with regular education.
If you have any additional message to forward?
The endeavors to cultivate health professionals continue to gain momentum and the demand for increased human power would be addressed soon. There is no doubt that the progress of medical services would in a little while reach the desired level.