During the days of independence the number of health professionals was below 1,500. To day the number has increased to 4,500. The ratio health professional per a patient has been 1 health professional per 25 thousands has now dropped to 1 to 15 thousand. Moreover, one nurse takes care for three thousands patients. This is a great leap forward in the health sector. Over all we can proudly say that the number of health personnel has raised by 200% at the national level, and as a result the quality of health service is showing improvement.
What is the reason behind the success story?
Right after independence the Ministry of Health gave priority in expanding training facilities that could produce health professional in different levels. We started schools of associate nurses in response to the dire need of health professionals due to the rapid expansion of health services. The issue of where to house these schools took its time and we decided to use the old hospitals with some renovations. Housing of these schools is still at a cross – road even commendable work has been done so far. The department is of the idea that these schools are the sites of training that could easily be utilized by all categories of health workers provided they are well established as schools and not merely meant for only those that are trained by the department of the Ministry of Health. To day we have associate nurse schools in Barentu, Ghinda, and Mendefera. We are also in the process to establish resource centers in Aseb, Ghindae, Mendefera, keren, and Barentu. These resource centers will have electronic libraries, and English books, and other medical texts. We want to see spacious rooms where staff is able to refer materials of their interest and interact with their workmates. Any hospital is supposed to have a news letter that informs its staff and all other interested individuals on the current status of the service of that hospital. In the course of the twenty years of our independence we have been able also to produce 1,200 health professionals who graduated in PHD, degree and diplomas.
Could we say that Eritrea has achieved the WHO standard?
To achieve the WHO standard demands 70% of the medical personnel should be with skills in various medical fields. To date 60% of the members of the Ministry of Health are graduates in various medical fields. That means with the pace we are moving forward it is our conviction that in few years time we will achieve the WHO standard.
Regarding the future plan?
There is increasing recognition for health workers to continue their education by way of continuing medical education which is vital component of management of health system. Continuing medical Education is the main way in which quality of work done by human resource for health (HRH) is maintained or improved.
Continuing medical education maintains standards of work and makes good use of the available resources. It has economic advantages such as learning how to use new equipment or cope with scarce resources thus reduce the cost of health care.
And therefore, the Ministry of Health is committed to expand training facilities with up to the standard training equipment so that to produce more health professional that could efficiently serve the society.