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African officials discuss ways to address shortage of healthcare personnel

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By Xinhua

KIGALI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — Health officials from various African countries gathered in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, on Monday for discussion on challenges facing healthcare provision on the continent, especially how to address the low doctor-to-patient ratio. The three-day meeting was organized by the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA), an entity bringing together medical regulatory authorities in Africa. “We have the least healthcare workforce than any other continent in the world. The doctor to patient ratio is too low, and gets even lower in specific fields like surgery,” Rwandan Minister of Health Sabin Nsanzimana said in his opening speech. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that there should be at least 4.45 health workers per 1,000 people to deliver essential health services and achieve universal health coverage. However, most of African countries could not attain the minimum ratio. Nsanzimana said the shortage of health personnel has been discussed for long at various continental forums without concrete solutions. He thus urged regulatory authorities to find ways to address the issue. President of AMCOA Simon Nemutandani said the conference would facilitate the sharing of the best practices across Africa. “We are making sure that we have got qualified, competent doctors and health practitioners in Africa,” he said. Enditem

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