Woldekidan Kifle Amde, David Sanders, Mohsin Sidat, Manasse Nzayirambaho, Damen Haile-Mariam, and Uta Lehmann. 2020. “The politics and practice of initiating a public health postgraduate programme in three universities in sub-Saharan Africa: the challenges of alignment and coherence.” Int J Equity Health, 19, 1, Pp. 52.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: In-country postgraduate training programme in low and middle income countries are widely considered to strengthen institutional and national capacity. There exists dearth of research about how new training initiatives in public health training institutions come about. This paper examines a south-south collaborative initiative wherein three universities based in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique set out to develop a local based postgraduate programme on health workforce development/management through partnership with a university in South Africa. METHODS: We used a qualitative case study design. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 key informants, who were purposively recruited based on their association or proximity to the programme, and their involvement in the development, review, approval and implementation of the programme. We gathered supplementary data through document reviews and observation. Thematic analysis was used and themes were generated inductively from the data and deductively from literature on capacity development. RESULTS: University A successfully initiated a postgraduate training programme in health workforce development/management. University B and C faced multiple challenges to embed the programme. It was evident that multiple actors underpin programme introduction across institutions, characterized by contestations over issues of programme feasibility, relevance, or need. A daunting challenge in this regard is establishing coherence between health ministries' expectation to roll out training programmes that meet national health priorities and ensure sustainability, and universities and academics' expectations for investment or financial incentive. Programme champions, located in the universities, can be key actors in building such coherence, if they are committed and received sustained support. The south-south initiative also suffers from lack of long term and adequate support. CONCLUSIONS: Against the background of very limited human capacity and competition for this capacity, initiating the postgraduate programme on health workforce development/management proved to be a political as much as a technical undertaking influenced by multiple actors vying for recognition or benefits, and influence over issues of programme feasibility, relevance or need. Critical in the success of the initiative was alignment and coherence among actors, health ministries and universities in particular, and how well programme champions are able to garner support for and ownership of programme locally. The paper argues that coherence and alignment are crucial to embed programmes, yet hard to achieve when capacity and resources are limited and contested.
    Tsion Assefa, Damen Haile Mariam, Wubegzier Mekonnen, and Miliard Derbew. 2017. “Health system's response for physician workforce shortages and the upcoming crisis in Ethiopia: a grounded theory research.” Hum Resour Health, 15, 1, Pp. 86.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: A rapid transition from severe physician workforce shortage to massive production to ensure the physician workforce demand puts the Ethiopian health care system in a variety of challenges. Therefore, this study discovered how the health system response for physician workforce shortage using the so-called flooding strategy was viewed by different stakeholders. METHODS: The study adopted the grounded theory research approach to explore the causes, contexts, and consequences (at the present, in the short and long term) of massive medical student admission to the medical schools on patient care, medical education workforce, and medical students. Forty-three purposively selected individuals were involved in a semi-structured interview from different settings: academics, government health care system, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Data coding, classification, and categorization were assisted using ATLAs.ti qualitative data analysis scientific software. RESULTS: In relation to the health system response, eight main categories were emerged: (1) reasons for rapid medical education expansion; (2) preparation for medical education expansion; (3) the consequences of rapid medical education expansion; (4) massive production/flooding as human resources for health (HRH) development strategy; (5) cooperation on HRH development; (6) HRH strategies and planning; (7) capacity of system for HRH development; and (8) institutional continuity for HRH development. The demand for physician workforce and gaining political acceptance were cited as main reasons which motivated the government to scale up the medical education rapidly. However, the rapid expansion was beyond the capacity of medical schools' human resources, patient flow, and size of teaching hospitals. As a result, there were potential adverse consequences in clinical service delivery, and teaching learning process at the present: "the number should consider the available resources such as number of classrooms, patient flows, medical teachers, library…". In the future, it was anticipated to end in surplus in physician workforce, unemployment, inefficiency, and pressure on the system: "…flooding may seem a good strategy superficially but it is a dangerous strategy. It may put the country into crisis, even if good physicians are being produced; they may not get a place where to go…". CONCLUSION: Massive physician workforce production which is not closely aligned with the training capacity of the medical schools and the absorption of graduates in to the health system will end up in unanticipated adverse consequences.
    Tsion Assefa, Damen Haile Mariam, Wubegzier Mekonnen, Miliard Derbew, and Wendimagegn Enbiale. 2016. “Physician distribution and attrition in the public health sector of Ethiopia.” Risk Manag Healthc Policy, 9, Pp. 285-295.Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Shortages and imbalances in physician workforce distribution between urban and rural and among the different regions in Ethiopia are enormous. However, with the recent rapid expansion in medical education training, it is expected that the country can make progress in physician workforce supply. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the distribution of physician workforce in Ethiopia and assess the role of retention mechanisms in the reduction of physician migration from the public health sector of Ethiopia. METHODS: This organizational survey examined physician workforce data from 119 hospitals from 5 regions (Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region [SNNPR], Tigray, and Harari) and 2 city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa City). Training opportunity, distribution, and turnover between September 2009 and July 2015 were analyzed descriptively. Poisson regression model was used to find the association of different covariates with physician turnover. RESULTS: There were 2,300 medical doctors in 5 regions and 2 city administrations in ~6 years of observations. Of these, 553 (24.04%) medical doctors moved out of their duty stations and the remaining 1,747 (75.96%) were working actively. Of the actively working, the majority of the medical doctors, 1,407 (80.5%), were males, in which 889 (50.9%) were born after the year 1985, 997 (57%) had work experience of <3 years, and most, 1,471 (84.2%), were general practitioners. Within the observation period, physician turnover among specialists ranged from 21.4% in Dire Dawa to 43.3% in Amhara region. The capital, Addis Ababa, was the place of destination for 32 (82%) of the physicians who moved out to other regions from elsewhere in the country. The Poisson regression model revealed a decreased incidence of turnover among physicians born between the years 1975 and 1985 (incident rate ratio [IRR]: 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.51, 0.79) and among those who were born prior to 1975 (IRR: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.34) compared to those who were born after 1985. Female physicians were 1.4 times (IRR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.81) more likely to move out from their duty stations compared to males. In addition, physicians working in district hospitals were 2 times (IRR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.59, 2.89) more likely to move out and those working in general hospitals had 1.39 times (IRR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.78) increased rate of turnover in comparison with those who were working in referral hospitals. Physicians working in the Amhara region had 2 times (IRR: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.49, 2.73) increased risk of turnover in comparison with those who were working in the capital, Addis Ababa. The probability of migration did not show a statistically significant difference in all other regions (>0.05). CONCLUSION: The public health sector physician workforce largely constituted of male physicians, young and less experienced. High turnover rate among females, the young and less experienced physicians, and those working in distant places (district hospitals) indicate the need for special attention in devising human resources management and retention strategies.