Health Care Crisis



Jason Finch, via Flickr

Joshua Leo and Robin Basselin look at a serious problem in our world: the lack of health workers. They also look at the commitment of health care workers in developing countries.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Joshua Leo.

Voice 2

And I'm Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Today's Spotlight is on a serious problem that faces our world today — the lack of health care workers.

Voice 2

Mary Ntata is from the country of Malawi, in Africa. She is a nurse. She trained to be a health care worker in the United Kingdom. After finishing her education Mary stayed in the UK to work. But with the organization OXFAM, she travelled back to Malawi to see what the conditions are like for Malawian nurses.

Voice 1

In the last 20 years, there has been a serious shortage of nurses in Malawi. There are not enough nurses to treat the patients. This is for many reasons. Nurses are not paid enough money in Malawi. The conditions in many hospitals and clinics are very bad. And serious health problems like HIV and AIDS mean that there are many patients. Mary wrote about her experience for the BBC.

Voice 3

"We went to the main hospital in Lilongwe today. I followed a nurse named Khetase. She took me past a long line of women and children. We went to the children's ward, the children's part of the hospital. I was shocked by what I saw. The ward was dirty. It was so full with child patients and their guardians. Many of the children shared a bed with another patient.

One boy, Godfrey, lay very still on the floor with his head on his grandmother's knee. He had serious diarrhoea. In the UK he would probably be on a drip. The drip would put fluids back into his body. But here there was not even a bed for him.

Another nurse, named Christine, took me to the women's medical ward. All the beds were full. Women filled every area both inside and outside of the rooms. The women outside had to struggle against sickness and the weather, especially in the rainy season.

Nurse Christine was giving injections of medicine. She did not have any gloves to cover her hands. This was on a ward where at least 30% of the patients have HIV. Christine only uses gloves with patients who have a highly infectious disease. She understands the risks to her own health. But she tries not to think about that. She feels it is her job to ease the suffering of the patients.

Nurse shortages are even worse than I expected. I saw how hard the nurses must work. They lack many medical resources. It is hard to understand how they can continue working. But they show a lot of spirit and commitment in almost impossible work situations.

Coming back to Malawi has made me understand how much this country needs my skills. It has made me feel like I need to come back to help my people."

Voice 2

This is not just a problem in Malawi. The world is facing a serious lack of health care workers. However, the problem is greatest in countries with extreme poverty. These areas struggle the most against disease.

Voice 1

The World Health Organization, or the WHO, released a report in 2009 about the lack of health workers. The report said the world lacks more than 4 million health workers. There are 57 countries that have a serious lack of health workers. And 36 of those countries are in sub–Saharan Africa.

Voice 2

The WHO believes that the lack of health workers affects many areas of health care. Children do not receive important vaccinations to protect them from disease. Women do not receive good pregnancy care. Women and children die during child birth. Diseases like HIV cannot be treated. And many people do not receive any health care at all. The WHO reports that over one billion [1,000,000,000] people in the world lack even the simplest health care because there is no health worker present.

Voice 1

Developing countries face an even greater challenge. They lack good health care and health care workers. And, they also lose many of their trained health workers to other, more developed countries. These countries can offer the workers better pay. Often, the workers feel that moving to another country will give them a better life. Developed countries lack health workers too. They are happy to accept workers from other countries. However, this leaves developing countries facing a serious health crisis.

Voice 2

The WHO has developed a plan to aid this crisis. First, the organization believes that each country needs to improve health care. All countries need to educate and employ more health care workers. The WHO believes that there must be a greater number of health workers compared to the number of patients. Evidence shows that this improves everyone's health.

Voice 1

Health care workers must have support from the government to succeed. So, the WHO urges national leaders to create plans to help their health systems. And developing countries need to receive support for their plans from international aid groups.

Voice 2

The WHO hopes that countries will invest more into their own health care systems. This is especially important for the 57 countries with the biggest shortage of workers. Countries should increase the amount of money for their health care systems.

Voice 1

Second, the WHO wants developed countries to create new policies. The policies would not let developed countries seek health workers from developing countries. The WHO's report asks that developed countries stop taking health care workers away from developing countries.

Voice 2

The WHO believes that their plan could work. Following this plan, the crisis could be over within 20 years.

Voice 1

This is what has happened in Malawi. The government has worked with international groups, including the UK government. These groups gave money to increase the wages for nurses in Malawi. They also gave money for nurse training programs in the country. There are still not enough nurses. But these programs are making a difference.

Voice 2

At the beginning of this program we talked about Mary's visit to Malawi. She now understands that Malawi needs her skills. She can help the health care crisis there. All people need to support their country's healthcare system. They can demand their leaders make health care a main concern. Health care is a human right. All people should help to make it a right for everyone.

Voice 1

What is health care like in your country? Are there enough health care workers? How can you help your country's health care system? Share your ideas on our website at www.radioenglish.net.

Voice 2

The writer of today's program was Rebekah Schipper. The producer was Joshua Leo. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called "Health Care Crisis."

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What is health care like in your country? Are there enough health care workers?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
GelezniyDen
said on April 30, 2011

Hello everybody and good day all people in the beautiful world. I am from Russia and we have not very difficult problem connected with healthcare but wages of our nurses very lowly and not only nurses but doctors as well. And of course if government will share more amount of money with healthcare system we will be have a better service in our clinics. And also i want communicate more with people who want study English like me and you can add into my following skype: gelezniyden and i will glad communicate with you with help different ways like voice and typing. I will be almost online 24 hours )))

Avatar Spotlight
ptquan
said on January 22, 2013

In my opinion, I think WHO is doing the correct ! We should limit developed countries to offer more convenience for health worker around the world. Nowadays, people worry about their own life than another. If developed countries give good salary for health workers, they will work for them. The developing countries also lack health workers, but they may not pay salary as good as developed countries doing.

Dzung.vn's avatar
Dzung.vn
said on January 26, 2013

The problem is that developing countries always do not have enough money to improve as well as upgrade their health care system. As you know, doctors and nurses have been working in the main hospitals whose them self is not received good enough wages for their contribution to the community. This has only happened in the health system but also happen in other fields. And I hope that leaders of developing countries will act on the WHO’s advice.