EDITORIAL: Govt must evolve strategies to curb exodus of health workers THIS DAY IT is a widely known fact that there is scarcity of medical workers in the countrys health care system. It is also evident that there is unemployment of health workers who have been trained. This presents a paradox of sorts � an inadequacy in number and yet unemployment for qualified trained personnel! This, indeed, is a sorry situation for a country that has serious health care challenges, including the fact that a huge proportion of her population have no access to qualified health personnel and are thus dying like flies from ailments that can be cured by those with elementary knowledge of medical care. The problem of scarcity of health personnel is more pervasive in the rural areas than in the urban centres. A way out of this problem is for the central government to support the district and municipal councils through providing incentives like better pay and accommodation for the health personnel. The truth of the matter is that highly trained health personnel are deserting the country and seeking greener pastures abroad in droves. America, Europe the Middle East and a number of African countries have populations of Tanzanian doctors, nurses and other health professionals who are being well remunerated and who have requisite equipment for the practice of their profession. However desperately they are needed in Tanzania, it is difficult to see some of these people accepting to subject themselves to some of the conditions that their colleagues in the country are being put through. For one, the pay is miles apart between those in Tanzania and those abroad. Also very importantly, those abroad have up-to-date equipment for their practice while equally important, the environments cannot be compared. The corruption in the system contributes towards the drain of the nations human resources to these other countries. Apart from these factors that make qualified health personnel to seek their fortunes elsewhere, there is also the problem of inadequate places for young doctors to serve as house officers. This has left most of them hanging around after qualification. For such young people, any offers for them to go to any countries abroad for the mandatory housemanship are seen as golden opportunities. They even find the operating environments in such countries better than what obtains in Tanzania and more often than not, stay back in those countries or go on to other countries. What this means for Tanzania is further depletion of the stock of trained health personnel who would have bridged the yawning gap that exists in the patient-doctor ratio in the country. What this means is that more Tanzanians would be unable to receive the attention of qualified health personnel; more Tanzanians, especially in the rural areas, would be at the mercy of quacks and more innocent people, who would have been in a position to contribute positively to Tanzania would die needless deaths. If trained health personnel continue to leave the country at the rate they are going, who would be left to make the nations dream of an efficient health insurance scheme a reality? What this goes to show is that the problem is not with the people but with the system. If the pay is comparative, if the equipment is up-to-date and the people are trained to use it well and if the environment is conducive, our trained health care personnel will prefer to stay in the country. This is a serious challenge to the government that it must evolve new strategies for the proper funding of the health sector. There is need for a competitive salary structure; there is need for proper equipment of health institutions and need for rehabilitation of infrastructures such as electricity supply, road networks and portable water.?????