Zambia: Housing for health workers
Good housing attracts health workers. More staff means better patient care in rural health centres.
Rural Zambia lacks health workers
Health facilities in rural Zambia suffer from an acute shortage of health workers. The lack of qualified staff is one of the main reasons why people living in rural areas have such poor health services. Together with the Hilti Foundation, SolidarMed is setting up a housing association to provide simple staff houses for health workers. Good housing is an important incentive and encourages health professionals to work in remote areas.
Key project facts
Health workers in rural Zambia have access to good housing.
Better housing means more health workers. This increases the quality of the health services for patients in rural Zambia.
The housing association supports itself. All profits benefit the health facilities.
Key project facts
The project in a nutshell
The hospitals in rural Zambia are chronically underfunded. Without support, they are not able to provide enough accommodation for their staff. But no housing means no health workers, with a negative impact on the quality of health care for the local population. SolidarMed counteracts the rural exodus of health workers by building and renovating staff houses. Better accommodation encourages qualified staff to work in a rural hospital. This benefits the hospitals and ultimately the population as well. The presence of motivated staff has a positive impact on the quality of the health services.
A non-profit housing association builds, maintains and manages the staff houses of rural hospitals and rents them out to the health staff. The rent is automatically deducted from their salaries, keeping administrative costs low. The income is used to maintain the staff houses. Any surplus is transferred to the rural hospitals, allowing them to invest in medical equipment and better infrastructure.
The improved living and working conditions lead to an increase in staff loyalty at rural hospitals. Employees are more motivated and this also benefits the patients. Initial results show that this approach works: there are now waiting lists of health professionals interested in these staff houses.
The housing cooperative is affiliated with a nationally accredited vocational training programme. This opens up work prospects for disadvantaged young people in remote villages and provides them with an income. Their practical training takes place directly on the construction sites, integrated into the renovation of the staff houses. After completing their training, the young people receive a nationally recognised certificate, improving their chances on the labour market.
With this holistic approach, SolidarMed is addressing an urgent infrastructure problem in Zambia. The lean organisation, simplified rent collection and the integration of vocational training for disadvantaged youths are models of international cooperation.
«SolidarMed builds staff houses to ensure that qualified health professionals remain in rural hospitals.»
Spencer Huchulak, Project Manager in Zambia
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