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Muzyamba et al. BMC International Health and Human Rights (2015) 15:26
Many public health researchers conducting studies in resource-constrained settings have experienced negative 'rumours' about their work, in some cases they have been reported to create serious challenges and derail studies. However, what may appear superficially as 'gossip' or 'rumours' can also be regarded and understood as metaphors which represent local concerns. For researchers unaccustomed to having concerns expressed from participants in this manner, possible reactions can be to be unduly perturbed or conversely dismissive.
Considerable attention has been given by policy makers and researchers to the human resources for health crisis in Africa. However, little attention has been paid to quantifying health facility-level trends in health worker numbers, distribution and workload, despite growing demands on health workers due to the availability of new funds for HIV/AIDS control scale-up. This study analyses and reports trends in HIV and non-HIV ambulatory service workloads on clinical staff in urban and rural district level facilities.
Background: HIV testing with counseling is an integral component of most national HIV and AIDS prevention strategies in southern Africa.
In Africa, an estimated 300-500 million cases of malaria occur each year resulting in approximately 1 million deaths. More than 90% of these are in children under 5 years of age.
Vitamin A deficiency and malaria are both highly prevalent health problems in Africa. Vitamin A deficiency affects over 30 million children, most of whom are in the age-group (under five years) most affected by malaria. Vitamin A deficiency increases all-cause mortality in this part of the population, and malaria is an important cause of death in children at this age.
The human resource shortage in Zambia is placing a heavy burden on the few health care workers available at health facilities. The Zambia Prevention, Care and Treatment Partnership began training and placing community volunteers as lay counsellors in order to complement the efforts of the health care workers in providing HIV counselling and testing services. These volunteers are trained using the standard national counselling and testing curriculum.