227490 Absenteeism among hospital staff in Cameroon: Extent of the problem, its determinants and associated costs

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Regis Blais, PhD , Department of Health Administration, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Gisele Tchuinguem, MD , International Rescue Committee - Bocaranga - Central African Republic, New York, NY
Background: Absenteeism among healthcare professionals constitutes a major threat to healthcare systems in Africa. However, underdeveloped information systems make it difficult to assess the problem and eventually act upon it. Objective: The objective of this study was to document the extent of absenteeism among healthcare professionals in Cameroon hospitals, the determinants of absenteeism and its associated direct costs.

Methods: An original data collection was performed in 15 hospitals from six regions in Cameroon. In each hospital a clerk noted the coming and going of physicians, nurses and nursing assistants during the month of October 2008. Absenteeism was measured in duration and frequency up to three days. Using hospital staff database, data on personal and professional characteristics were collected. Cost of absenteeism was measured in terms of salary wasted.

Results: Of the 516 persons who were observed, 93.4% were absent at least once during the study period. The overall rate of absenteeism (proportion of working time) was 7.2%. Each participant had an average of 12 episodes of absence for a total of 13 hours and 21 minutes during the study month. The duration of work shift, being a physician, working in the emergency department, working on a fixed schedule and being a woman, were positively associated with absenteeism. Absenteeism equaled 8% of total salary.

Conclusion: Absenteeism among health professionals of the public sector in Cameroon deprives the healthcare system and population of a significant amount of scarce resources. Reducing absenteeism will require better information systems and more rigorous management practices.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the level of absenteeism by type of staff in hospitals in Cameroon 2. Describe the factors associated with absenteeism among hospital personnel in Cameroon 3. Estimate the costs of absenteeism to hospitals in Cameroon

Keywords: Management, Hospitals

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a university professor.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.