About Us

Questions and Answers

Want to know more about the Africa Network for Associate Clinicians (ANAC)? Please read our most frequently asked questions and answers. If you have another question, please contact us.

What is ANAC?

ANAC is a unique regional community bringing together the strong voices of associate clinicians. ANAC was launched in 2010 in Lusaka, Zambia and is currently active in the following countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. ANAC was founded by members from associate clinician training programs in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia and those who support them in their work. ANAC continues to be led by this group, who are best placed to evolve the network in response to the needs of associate clinicians themselves. Read more about what we do.

Who is an associate clinician?

Associate clinicians are skilled health care professionals who are trained to diagnose and manage common medical, maternal and child health, and surgical conditions. Some, with advanced training, can also perform surgery, including in obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics and ophthalmology. Evidence shows that with appropriate training and a supportive working environment, associate clinicians have similar outcomes to doctors when performing emergency obstetric care, along with other types of services.

The term “associate clinicians” was adopted in April 2012, after regional consultation with the clinicians themselves. Formerly known as non-physician clinicians (NPCs), associate clinicians are now being recognised for what they are: not doctors, but an important part of the health care team committed to better health outcomes for all.

Associate clinicians are known by a number of country- and region-specific names (e.g., clinical officers, health officers, medical assistants, medical licentiates, técnicos de medicina and cirugia). Collectively, they are called associate clinicians and now speak with one voice.

Are associate clinicians recognised health care providers?

Associate clinicians are an important group of registered and regulated health care providers. Thanks in part to the advocacy work of ANAC, the World Health Organization now recognises and includes associate clinicians and advanced associate clinicians as part of the team of critical health care workers. We will continue to sensitise actors at all levels of governance to the importance of associate clinicians and their key role within health care systems worldwide.

Who can join ANAC?

ANAC is comprised of associate clinicians, educators, advocacy organisations and other stakeholders. ANAC continues to grow and now includes associate clinicians from many sub-Saharan countries. Please join us today.

Why is ANAC important?

The World Health Organization has identified 57 countries around the world — most located in sub-Saharan Africa — that do not have enough health care workers to keep their populations healthy and stop needless suffering and death.1 We at ANAC understand that associate clinicians are an important part of the solution to end this inequality and create real change in health care outcomes in many countries worldwide.

In fact, in many sub-Saharan African countries, a region with only 3% of the global health workforce, associate clinicians have worked collaboratively to provide lifesaving care for decades. But their effective service has not been well documented or acknowledged by health systems, particularly at regional and global levels. We believe that associate clinicians, who have now come together as a community, deserve professional recognition, training and support from all levels of government and society. Now more than ever, associate clinicians must be held up as a strong example of how health care can evolve to serve those most in need.

Where is ANAC active?

The ANAC Secretariat is based in Lusaka, Zambia. Our focus is on those countries in sub-Saharan Africa that do not have enough health care workers to keep their populations healthy and stop needless suffering and death. ANAC is also a global example of how health care must evolve to meet the needs of people all around the world.

How is ANAC governed?

ANAC is managed by a Regional Coordinator who is based in Lusaka, Zambia. At the country level, part-time Country Focal Persons work with existing national associate clinician organisations and coordinate activities for associate clinicians where no national bodies exist.

ANAC is supported by a range of donors, all committed to expanding the network and our real-world impact. ANAC donors are able to see real value for their money because we are guided by associate clinicians themselves, who understand on-the-ground needs and are working hard to make important change in health care provision, in Africa and around the world.


  1. World Health Organization. The world health report 2006: working together for health. Available at