Work load indicators of staffing needs for midwives and nurses offering maternal neonatal and child health services in Chongwe district Lusaka Zambia

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Zulu, Brenda
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The University of Zambia
Lack of appropriate human resources planning is an important factor in the inefficient use of the public health facilities. Workforce projections can be improved by using objective methods of staffing needs based on the workload and actual work undertaken by workers, a guideline developed by Peter J. Shipp in collaboration with WHO—Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN). This study was conducted in all the thirty seven facilities of Chongwe District. At each health facility, the study included Midwives and Nurses offering MNCH services only. The study used the WISN method recommended by WHO to assess the availability of Midwives and nurses offering MNCH services. Staff levels for Midwives and Nurses offering MNCH services in Chongwe District stood at 91 which is 38.7% representation of the required number of staff needed to carry out the MNCH activities in the District. This means that the District is greater than the current workforce, with WISN ratio of 0.4. This study showed a shortage of Midwives and Nurses offering MNCH services in all the facilities of Chongwe District, which confirms that there is considerable demand. With this in mind, rigorous cost analysis of policy options should be done by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning while bearing in mind the advantages of staffing by available workload per facility. The Nursing Officers and heads of departments should consider planning annual leave for their staff in periods when workload is low. This would entail a critical workload trends analysis per facility. Also, close supervision and job descriptions for the different cadres of nursing staff could help in reducing the inappropriate and inefficient use of staff. Finally, training of all departmental heads in the use of the WISN would certainly be beneficial to the district. Key words: Activity standards, staffing needs, WISN, Workload, Workforce projection
Staffing needs--Maternal services--Zambia , Nursing--Zambia