Latest Resources

Cost Estimates: Doubling the Health Workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2010

An initial investment of an estimated $2.0 billion in 2006, rising to an estimated $7.7 billion annually by 2010, is needed from African governments and the collective donor community to double sub-Saharan Africa’s health workforce while increasing its effectiveness, thus making significant progress towards developing the workforces required for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve national and global health goals. [author’s description]

HIV/AIDS, Human Resources and Sustainable Development

This report, written for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002, discusses the impact of HIV on the workforce and calls for governments to live up to the benchmark of action agreed to in the 2001 Declaration of Commitment to HIV/AIDS.

Buying Results? Contracting for Health Service Delivery in Developing Countries

Contracting with non-state entities, including non-governmental organisations, has been proposed as a means for improving health care delivery, and the global experience with such contracts is reviewed here. The ten investigated examples indicate that contracting for the delivery of primary care can be very effective and that improvements can be rapid. [from author]

Gender: A Missing Dimension in Human Resource Policy and Planning for Health Reforms

This article takes up the relatively neglected issue of gender in human resources policy and planning (HRPP), with particular reference to the health sector in developing countries.

Using Mid-level Cadres as Substitutes for Internationally Mobile Health Professionals in Africa: A Desk Review

Substitute health workers are cadres who take on some of the functions and roles normally reserved for internationally recognized health professionals such as doctors, pharmacists and nurses but who usually receive shorter pre-service training and possess lower qualifications. This desk review was conducted on the education, regulation, scopes of practice, specialization, nomenclature, retention and cost-effectiveness of substitute health workers in terms of their utilization.

Human Resources Crisis in the Zambian Health System: A Call for Urgent Action

Over the past few years, the human resources situation in the Zambia public sector has reached a point of severe crisis and inability to provide basic health services, primarily due to three interrelated factors. First, the country is losing substantial numbers of health workers to countries that offer better conditions of service, or are changing professions to ones that offer more attractive opportunities. Second, Zambia’s medical and professional schools have a limited capacity to train additional staff.

Equity, Equal Opportunities, Gender and Organization Performance

This review highlighted the fact that employment equity debates and policies largely refer to high-income countries. Even in these countries, there is more rhetorical commitment than hard evidence of successful outcomes. Evaluations have been mainly post hoc and many initiatives have not been evaluated at all. There is a continuing debate about what is the appropriate kind of intervention, a number of competing models being advocated. The most noticeable trend seems to be away from reliance on targeting by numbers (particularly for recruitment) and towards more comprehensive approaches across a range of inter- and intra-organizational interventions and over the whole career of the employee.

Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis

In this analysis of the global workforce, the Joint Learning Initiative (JLI) - a consortium of more than 100 health leaders - proposes that mobilisation and strengthening of human resources for health, neglected yet critical, is central to combating health crises in some of the world’s poorest countries and for building sustainable health systems in all countries. Nearly all countries are challenged by worker shortage, skill mix imbalance, maldistribution, negative work environment, and weak knowledge base.

Tackling the Crisis in Human Capacity Development for Health Services

This issue of The Manager provides a comprehensive framework for addressing human capacity development. It presents steps for developing a strategy that will help managers sustain a supply of adequately trained health staff. It examines four components of planning and managing the workforce: policy and financial requirements, human resource management, partnerships, and leadership. The issue also suggests actions managers and policymakers can take to address issues in these areas so that appropriately trained staff are available in the right places at the right time. [editors’ description]

Performance Improvement Stages, Steps and Tools

Considered an introduction to the Performance Improvement Approach in low resource settings. Stages, Steps and Tools presents an easy-to-use guide for finding the root causes of performance problems and then selecting and implementing interventions to fix those deficits. A set of tools can be used independently or in conjunction with other interventions to improve the quality and accessibility of health care services. [

Working Together to Tackle the Crisis in Human Resources for Health

The paper summarizes the rapidly accumulating evidence and growing recognition of the HRH crisis, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The nature of the crisis is briefly outlined, drawing attention to escalating activities, demand and momentum emerging from Africa and other countries calling for appropriate and effective global and regional support. There are clear needs for quality technical work, stronger regional cooperation, harmonization of health systems and global initiatives, and for sound fiscal and migration policies.

Costs of HIV/AIDS Among Professional Staff in the Zambian Public Health Sector

Despite their high level of training and medical knowledge, health professionals remain a population that is vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. AIDS-related mortality has been recognized as a significant factor in the loss of trained health staff in high prevalence countries, but little empirical research has been done to quantify the damage. In this study, we applied a case/comparison methodology to estimate the costs of HIV infection in the professional workforce at three Zambian healthcare institutions: Lusaka District Health Management Team, University Teaching Hospital (the national tertiary care hospital) and Kasama District Hospital and Health Management Team. Deaths or medical retirements among professional staff were analyzed wherever the complete personnel records were available, with the exclusion of cases resulting from violence, accident or disease of sudden onset. 108 cases were identified over a three-year period ending in October 2003. Each case was matched with two comparisons of similar age, sex and professional training. Data were collected for both cases and comparisons on absenteeism, compensation and medical care and reimbursement. Data were also collected on death and retirement benefits paid, or owed, to the cases. [author’s description]

Guidelines for Implementing Supportive Supervision: A Step-by-Step Guide with Tools for Immunization

This resource guide assists program managers in planning and implementing supervision systems in healthcare settings. Emphasis is placed on clear job expectations, leadership, and communication.

Health Sector Human Resource Crisis in Africa: An Issues Paper

The human resource (HR) problem in the health sector in sub-Saharan Africa has worsened to an extent that it has reached crisis proportions in some countries. Although the gravity of the problem varies across the continent, the situation in some of the countries is so grave that urgent action is needed. A complex set of factors has contributed to this problem, some exogenous, such as the austere fiscal measures introduced by structural adjustment, often resulting in cutbacks in the number of health workers.

Joint ILO/WHO Guidelines on Health Services and HIV/AIDS

The ILO and the WHO decided to join forces in order to assist health services in building their capacities to provide their workers with a safe, healthy and decent working environment, as the most effective way both to reduce transmission of HIV and other blood-borne pathogens and to improve the delivery of care to patients.

Quick and Dirty Evaluation of Capacity Building

This Praxis Note describes the author’s response to the challenge of documenting and evaluating a capacity building process that had taken place in the Tangababwe Red Cross Society (TRCS). The hope is that it will stimulate ideas and show that even quick and dirty evaluations can prove useful, and are certainly better than nothing. [publisher’s description]

Human Resources Management (HRM) in the Health Sector

Over the last two decades, health sector reform in many countries has been characterized by spirited efforts to bring down costs and reduce gaps in coverage. Various approaches to decentralization and public-private partnerships have been introduced, but there has been hardly any attempt to understand or address the human resources (HR) aspects and implications of such structural changes. This technical brief synthesizes findings from recent publications to help promote general understanding among the various HRM actors, especially advocates and practitioners in developing countries. [from aut

Expanded Response to Tuberculosis

This document describes USAID’s strategy for combating Tuberculosis. The strategy focuses on four main areas: a) expand and strengthen DOTS, b) increase and strengthen human resource capacity, c) develop and disseminate new tools and strategies, and d) adapt DOTS to address special challenges.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Human Resources for Health: An International Perspective

Despite the undoubted importance of human resources to the functions of health systems, there is little consistency between countries in how human resource strategies are monitored and evaluated. This paper presents an integrated approach for developing an evidence base on human resources for health (HRH) to support decision making, drawing on a framework for health systems performance assessment. [from abstract]

HIV/AIDS and the Workforce Crisis in Health in Africa: Issues for Discussion

This paper summarizes the key issues confronting human resources (HR) in the health sector in sub-Saharan Africa and the role that HIV/AIDS has played in exacerbating this crisis. Section I reviews the causes and consequences of this crisis. Section II focuses on the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the crisis. Section III analyzes the constraints faced by recent health initiatives in addressing HR issues. Finally, Section IV provides recommendations on how donors and other partners can address HR issues in a more intensive, sustained, and concerted manner. [summary]

Impact of HIV/AIDS on Health Systems and the Health Workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa

The purpose of this paper is to advocate for and guide planners in the collection and use of appropriate information to develop and manage the health workforce in a manner that enables health systems to respond to the service demands created or worsened by HIV/AIDS. The paper also intends to guide the development of tools for assessing impacts of HIV/AIDS on the health sector. Such tools can assist policymakers, planners, and advocacy groups to shape and accelerate the implementation of national HIV/AIDS policies and programs throughout the continent. [Description from author]

Skill-Mix and Policy Change in the Health Workforce: Nurses in Advanced Roles.

This report was commissioned by OECD to examine the evidence on role change and delegation from physicians to advanced practice nurses (APN), nurse practitioners and nurses in other advanced roles in the hospital setting and primary care. The report has three components: a literature review, an assessment of country responses to an OECD questionnaire, and two more detailed country case studies, on England and the US. [author’s description]