Africa Health Placements had a very successful 2012 in building towards our vision of "Health for Africa, powered by people".
Our recruitment team made 294 placements. These healthcare professionals had a positive impact on an estimated 2.9 million South Africans.
Together with the Department of Health and the Health Professions Council of South Africa, AHP has since 2005 sourced, recruited and placed more than 2 500 foreign-qualified and local healthcare professionals at rural and underserved healthcare facilities in southern Africa.
Our work has had an impact on more than 30 million South Africans.
AHP has been changing the face of public health in southern Africa, creating new outcomes for healthcare facilities that might otherwise be defunct by now. We define ourselves as "social profit" because our work, while mostly donor-funded, delivers profit in terms of improved healthcare and social indicators.
450 of the doctors we have placed since 2005 are currently working in the South African healthcare system, reaching an estimated eight million people.
AHP not only recruits healthcare professionals. We also offer orientation and ongoing support.
Orientation includes clinical, cultural and logistical support. Support programmes are aligned with government policies, and focus on improving retention through addressing frustrations around logistics, relationships, and isolation, particularly in rural areas.
As part of our health workforce support programme we conducted 110 continued professional development (CPD) sessions in rural areas in 2012. These sessions improved the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals, reduced the feeling of professional isolation, and created a forum where they could network and interact. CPD sessions covered a range of topics relevant to healthcare professionals working in rural areas.
AHP's workforce support practitioners travelled 250 000km to conduct more than 1 000 visits at healthcare facilities across the country last year. The problems addressed by workforce support practitioners are often not directly health-related, but are challenges that nonetheless have an impact on the delivery of healthcare. Practitioners have on several occasions assisted to solve road and water infrastructural problems in rural areas. The health workforce support programme reached an estimated 4.4 million South Africans in 2012.
Workforce support practitioners also assist hospital managers with minor equipment repairs and purchases.
In 2012, AHP's workforce support practitioner in Limpopo procured sutures to reopen a theatre which closed due to a shortage of sutures. The hospital is not allowed to purchase supplies without following long procurement processes. The practitioner found a supplier in Johannesburg and within three days the sutures were delivered at the hospital. The theatre was reopened and the clinical manager was very relieved. He said he would have had to send mothers and babies to the mortuary if the hospital didn't get the sutures.
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