Health Systems Strengthening
Ready to scale
Every day 16,000 children lose their lives, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst key health indicators are improving, there is still high demand on healthcare services, with 10 to 20% of children needing a higher level of specialist care. Doctor to patient ratios are dire at 0,2 doctors per 1,000 people and the resources simply are not available to meet the demand. In addition, over the years there has been increasing emphasis and attention on primary health services, with limited focus or resources targeted to tertiary care in most developing countries. The time has come to recognise the role of tertiary care and to invest in the workforce and facilities that are required to deliver it.
Jo Wilmshurst is a Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She the Director of the African Paediatric Fellowship Programme, with two additional Directors now in place at two new South African training sites at the Universities of Witwatersrand and Kwazulu-Natal. The African Paediatric Fellowship Programme (APFP) builds clinical paediatric workforce, research and training capacity across sub-Saharan Africa. With training provided at the academic paediatric hospitals of each of the three Universities, the programme works with institutions from 14 countries to identify and equip doctors with the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to optimise patient care, lead on new service developments and build an evidence base for paediatric care in low-resource settings. Targeting countries where no equivalent training exists, the APFP ensures that training is aligned with local health priorities and resources. From this, work will then be completed with referral institutions to build in-country training capacity thereby catalysing the sustained development of a new workforce to advance child health in Africa.