Resource Spotlight: Absenteeism among Health Workers: Developing a Typology

Waiting for a health worker in Kenya
Waiting for a health worker in Kenya

The contribution of inadequate health worker numbers and emigration have been highlighted in the international literature, but relatively little attention has been paid to absenteeism as a factor that undermines health-care delivery in low income countries. This study aimed to review the literature on absenteeism from a health system manager's perspective to inform needed work on this topic. Specifically, it aimed to develop a typology of definitions that might be useful to classify different forms of absenteeism and identify factors associated with absenteeism.

Of the sixty-nine studies reviewed, only four were from sub-Saharan Africa where the human resources for health crisis is most acute, and no previous attempt to develop an overarching approach to classifying forms of absenteeism was identified. The authors propose a typology based on key characteristics to fill this gap which considers absenteeism as defined by whether it is planned/unplanned, and voluntary/involuntary. [from abstract]

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