Britain Pledges More Than $100M To Fund Salary Increases for Malawian Health Workers Overtaxed by AIDS, Other Diseases
British officials on Friday pledged to give more than $100 million to increase the salaries of thousands of nurses and other workers within Malawi's health system, which is understaffed and "overwhelmed" by the number of HIV/AIDS and malaria cases and faces losing trained staff to better-paying jobs in Britain, the New York Times reports. The funding, which will increase the country's overall health budget by 30%, also will be used for training of new medical staff in the country. The funding is part of a broader six-year, $200 million package that will provide a 50% salary increase for more than 7,000 Malawi health workers, increasing the annual income of registered nurses and doctors to $2,850 and $3,500, respectively. The Malawi government seeks to entice the country's estimated 1,200 unemployed trained nurses to work. The Malawi Health Ministry says it hopes to receive sufficient aid to double all health worker salaries by 2007. A study released last week estimated that Africa needs one million more health workers, or triple the current number, to adequately fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases (Dugger, New York Times, 12/5). The analysis by the Joint Learning Initiative consortium, which was published in the Nov. 27 issue of the journal Lancet, said three major forces are creating the worldwide shortage of health care workers: the "triple threat" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic -- which increases workloads among health care workers, exposes them to possible infection and strains their morale; mass emigration of nurses and physicians from poorer nations to wealthier countries, creating a "brain drain" in the most-needy countries; and two decades of "underinvestment in human resources," which has "hit economically struggling and politically fragile countries the hardest" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.