IFGH 2012: Measuring Health Workforce Distribution in Uganda

January 30, 2012

Authors: Awor A.1, Brugha R.1, Byrne E.1

Author Affiliations: Dept of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, RCSI

Option 2– Lessons from the field; project and programme evaluations; and syntheses or analyses Presented as – Oral Presentation


Assess regional distribution and skill mix of health workers in Uganda so as to illustrate the imbalances in skills mix and geographical area in regional referral hospitals.


Data from the Ministry of Health HRH audit report 2010 was analysed to assess the distribution of health workers in the 12 regional referral hospitals in Uganda. We compared proportions of vacant position and ratios of the distribution of the total health workforce and the cadre-specific (skill mix) distributions of health workers focusing on the specialised services in the 12 Regional Referral Hospitals (RRH).


Overall vacancy rates varied from 29% to 72%. The ratio of specialised staff to the total staff varied from 9% to


Specific vacancy rates for specialised staff are:

  • 70% for theatre staff (the highest vacancy rate)
  • 56% for medical officers (ranging from 20% to 98%).
  • 51% for orthopedic officers
  • 50% for occupational and physiotherapists, psychiatry clinical officer and psychiatry social workers
  • 24% for nursing staff
  • 19% for clinical officers


The degree of inequity in the distribution of the health workforce was strongly dependent on geographic location of the referral hospital which favoured the urban areas. Government requires innovative solutions to overcome the mal-distribution of HRH in Uganda. The low vacancy rate of Clinical Officers in most of the hospitals may mean that a solution to address shortages of staff is to train similar cadres of staff to the Clinical Officers in the specialized areas which have the most critical shortages.



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