Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Medical doctors in Zambia are leaving government institu tions to join various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dealing with HIV/AID S , the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has said.
ZMA president Swebby Macha said NGOs were offering better conditions of service than the public sector, resulting in the current loss of manpower.
He said Zambia was currently operating at less than 50 percent of the required m edical doctors nationwide, the state run Sunday Times reported.
Macha said that the problem of insufficient medical doctors in public hospitals has taken a sudden shift despite the government introducing retention schemes.
He said although migration to other countries still existed, the rate was quite minimal because of incentives such as the rural retention scheme, car loans and an increment in the on-call allowance.
“The main challenge, however, is the internal braia drain, the migration of medi cal doctors into local NGOs that deal with HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB that are highly paying,” Dr Macha said.
The World Health Organisation recommended minimum standard of doctors to general population ratio is one doctor to 10,000 people, but currently the ratio is one doctor to 19,000 people.
Macha noted that the deficit of doctors was in the range of 50 to 60 percent.
As of 31 December 2008, Zambia had 1,581 doctors registered with ZMA, with 818 b eing Zambians and 763 non-Zambians.
The current migration of doctors into NGOs will mean that government hospitals w ill continue facing shortage of such professionals, Macha stated.