Managers over doctors

On September 2, 2008, in Africa, health human resources, NGOs, by Karen Grepin

In this excellent essay, Josh Ruxin of Columbia makes the case the more foreign aid for Africa will be useless without investments into building up the managerial capacity of African health systems. He challenges governments and NGOs in these areas to recruit more local talent with managerial and or private-sector experience and less with clinical treatment. I agree in principal with this position for two reasons.

First, I believe strongly that little in the academic training of clinicians prepares them to run anything at all, even a hospital. Second, given the limited number of well trained clinicians in many of these countries, it makes the training of health professionals less efficient.

However, it is more than just hiring these people into the system that will make the difference. In general, African health systems need to be treated more than donor projects. Systems will need to be built up to employ new workers and these new workers need to want to work in these systems.

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