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Background: Health human resource capacity is one of the major determinants of an effective health care delivery system. It is more importantly so in the Primary Health Care system, which is the key component of every health system. This study assessed the available and type of human resource for health in public primary health care facilities in selected communities in Edo State. It also compared them with the expected manpower, using the Ward Minimum Health Care Package (WMHCP).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in Edo State and the study units were selected using a multistage sampling technique. An observational check-list was used to assess the available health manpower in the public primary health facilities which was compared with the recommended manpower in the WMHCP.
Results: A total of 15 public PHC facilities were assessed in the study. The available health work force varied in densities between 9 per 17,857 population (or 0.50/1000 population), 3 per 11,905 (or 0.25/1000 population) and 2 per 22,988 population (0.08/1000 population) for CHEWs, Medical Officers and Nurses/midwives respectively. In relation to the recommended number by WMHCP, CHEWs were most extensively distributed with about 170% of the expected number in Owan East LGA, closely followed by Nurses/midwives with a value of 133.3% of the expected number in Etsako East LGA. Community Health Officer (CHO) was absent from all the PHC facilities.
Conclusion: The available manpower based on density per population and in comparison with WMHCP recommended number revealed an abnormal trend; skewed in favour of the CHEWs and against CHOs (which was completely absent). Community Health Extension workers in the study area should be sponsored through CHO training programme by the State Government. There should be employment of more JCHEWs and CHOs and redistribution of excess manpower to areas of need based on the type of PHC facilities for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.
Keywords: Health manpower, primary health care facilities, Edo State