Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 476–488

Health worker shortages in Zambia: An assessment of government responses

  • Jeff Gow
  • Gavin George
  • Given Mutinta
  • Sylvia Mwamba
  • Lutungu Ingombe
Original Article


A dire health worker shortage in Zambia's national health programs is adversely impacting the quantity and quality of health care and posing a serious barrier to achieving Millennium Development Goals to improve population health. In 2005, Zambia's Ministry of Health developed a 10-year strategic plan for human resources for health to address the crisis through improved training, hiring, and retention. The plan has neither arrested nor reduced the shortage. We review the causes of the shortage, present results from a health worker survey showing that safe work conditions, manageable workloads, and career advancement opportunities matter more to respondents than financial compensation. We comment on the adequacy of government efforts to address the health worker shortage.


Zambia health workers workforce shortage 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Gow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gavin George
    • 2
  • Given Mutinta
    • 2
  • Sylvia Mwamba
    • 3
  • Lutungu Ingombe
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, University of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD)University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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