Since 2009, THET has been working in Zambia to improve health service delivery by ensuring health workers are appropriately educated, trained, deployed, supported and retained.

Zambia is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranked 163 out of 187 in the United Nation’s Human Development Index. The country faces a critical shortage of health workers, with less than a third of the required doctor-to-patient ratio, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The country is critically off target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals and is performing poorly in all health indicators.

The quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health services depend on health workers and there is an urgent need for more, better trained, health workers in Zambia. The Government has identified health worker training and education, retention, and hiring as a policy priority, as outlined in the government’s ‘Human Resources for Health’ Strategic Plan.'

Our Goals

In line with the Government’s priorities, THET's goal is to contribute to an improvement in the quality and sustainability of health service delivery and patient care in Zambia.

To achieve this goal, we’re putting health workers at the centre of all our work. We aim to ensure health workers are:

  • Educated in the appropriate curricula, to the appropriate practical and theoretical standards
  • Trained with appropriate skills to deliver the required services
  • Deployed to where the health workers are needed most
  • Supported with the appropriate systems and procedures, including management, financial and continuing professional development
  • Retained within the health service, with opportunities for growth and development

Our Approach

Since 2009, THET Zambia has improved the number and quality of health workers in Zambia by supporting the training of health workers, building the capacity of departments and institutions and developing policies and systems to support the recruitment, deployment and retention of health workers. 

Key areas of support have focused on improving capacity in the following areas:

  • Local policy and advocacy capacity
  • Improved leadership and management of the health workforce
  • Quality improvement of clinical services
  • Workforce deployment
  • Pre-service and in-service training programmes
  • Continuing professional development for health workers

Key Achievements

Our achievements in training and education of health workers include:

  • Developing and conducting needs assessments for curriculum development 
  • Leading multi-partner participatory curriculum development and reviews
  • Supporting the accreditation of courses through relevant local authorities
  • Delivering curricula to over 100 trainees through both classroom and practical modules 
  • Fostering North-South and South-South exchanges

Our achievements in building capacity at departmental, institutional and policy-maker level include:

  • Developing and monitoring capacity building roadmaps for local partners
  • Establishing multi-sectoral working groups to lead and coordinate national interventions
  • Building the capacity of local partners in grants management, monitoring and evaluation, and quality improvement through mentorship and training offered through international and regional trainings and conferences

Our achievements in informing and supporting the development of policy include:

  • Designing integrated health workforce plans and guidelines for service delivery
  • Helping ensure healthcare worker retention through bonding and rural retention schemes
  • Conducting audits for service improvement