|TARGET #||DESCRIPTION||SA STATUS
(PER 2019 COUNTRY REPORT)
|3.c||Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing states
|The 2019 Country Report provides no status for this target but the WHO’s website state that they estimate a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. They further state that there is a chronic underinvestment in education and training of health workers in some countries and also a mismatch between education and employment strategies in health systems
|3.d||Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
|Measured on 13 core capacities which each received a 100% rating in 2018
The 13 core capacities are national legislation, policy and financing, coordination and national focal point communications, surveillance, response, preparedness, risk communication, human resources, laboratory, points of entry, zoonotic events, food safety, chemical events and radionuclear emergencies. It is noted that even though they received an assessment rating of 100% each in 2018, South Africa was not 100% prepared when COVID-19 happened
In September 2020, it was reported that South Africa is facing a major shortage in healthcare professionals in the period to 2030. It is projected that an additional 97 000 health workers will be needed by 2025 and that funding these additional workers would cost at least R34 billion to cover salaries. A National Health Insurance (NHI) is being worked on and Dr Nicholas Crisp, NHI fund developer and consultant at the Department of Health, has said: ‘What we are trying to do in universal health coverage is have a greater number of people, with a greater number of services, with less financial vulnerability at point of care.’ Crisp said that COVID-19 has had some benefits in that it has accelerated the move to an NHI as it has helped our government to learn new lessons around staffing, health and safety and health products, as well as helping to build a more competent digital system.
It is great to hear that there are some benefits from COVID-19 and that it has not all been negative. However, South Africa is still facing many of the problems it has previously faced and that result in a shortage of healthcare workers. Better governance and leadership are critical to getting the human resources model for our healthcare sector right.
If you are interested in learning more about these SDG 3 targets and helping South Africa to achieve them by 2030, these are two great resources:
- The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) study ‘Reconceptualising health professionals’ education in South Africa’ provides detailed information on how to align healthcare professionals’ education with our health system needs.’
- Exemplars in Global Health provides a wealth of information on what has been done successfully in other developing countries to improve their healthcare systems. As their website, exemplars.health, says: ‘We are a collaborative effort which aims to provide global health decision-makers with an accessible, useful tool with contextualized analysis to ultimately drive better informed health decisions for funding efforts and implementation … We conduct rigorous research and turn it into actionable lessons to help funders and policymakers make strategic decisions. Our goal is to help you increase your impact … We make it easier for decision-makers to replicate large-scale global health successes through evidence-based narratives. Our hope is that the lessons contained in this growing list of narratives will be a resource to leaders committed to improving health and finding success in their countries.’