Latest Resources

Introducing Performance Management in National Health Systems: Issues on Policy and Implementation

Using preliminary research results from 15 case studies conducted the world over we examine the prerequisites for successful introduction of performance management systems which are appropriate for developing country situations. The key message and conclusion is that it is important to measure and value staff performance, but that this requires levels of organisational management and an external policy environment that are seldom in place in a developing context.

Human Resources and National Health Systems: Shaping the Agenda for Action, Final Report

Some 60 participants from ministries of health, multilateral and bilateral international agencies, foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and professional organizations discussed and debated a range of issues in order to contribute to the objectives of this workshop, which were to: further the development of an HRH framework for policies; identify policy questions and agree upon an agenda for development of policy options; identify gaps in evidence and priorities for obtaining evidence on which to base policy; build capacity and partnership for action at country level. [author’s des

Decentralization's Impact on the Health Workforce: Perspectives of Managers, Workers and National Leaders

This paper examines evidence from published literature on decentralization’s impact on the demand side of the human resource equation, as well as the factors that have contributed to the impact. The elements that make such an impact analysis exceptionally complex are identified. They include the mode of decentralization that a country is implementing, the level of responsibility for the salary budget and pay determination, and the civil service status of transferred health workers. The main body of the paper is devoted to examining decentralization’s impact on human resource issues from three different perspectives: that of local health managers, health workers themselves, and national health leaders.

Informal Health Workers: To Be Encouraged or Condemned?

An editorial arguing for expanding the professional category of the formal health care workers to include home-based informal caregivers, political community leaders, shop vendors of health products, and traditional health practitioners. The editorial further notes that formal health workers can become informal health workers when operating outside the rules of the health system.

Health Workforce Crisis in TB Control: A Report From High-Burden Countries

Human resources (HR) constraints have been reported as one of the main barriers to achieving the 2005 global tuberculosis (TB) control targets in 18 of the 22 TB high-burden countries (HBCs); consequently we try to assess the current HR available for TB control in HBCs. A standard questionnaire designed to collect information on staff numbers, skills, training activities and current staff shortages at different health service levels was sent to national TB control programme managers in all HBCs. [From abstract]

Iranian Staff Nurses' Views of Their Productivity and Human Resource Factors Improving and Impeding It: A Qualitative Study

Nurses, as the largest human resource element of health care systems, have a major role in providing ongoing, high-quality care to patients. Productivity is a significant indicator of professional development within any professional group, including nurses. The human resource element has been identified as the most important factor affecting productivity. This research aimed to explore nurses’ perceptions and experiences of productivity and human resource factors improving or impeding it. [from abstract]

Teaching Mothers to Provide Home Treatment of Malaria in Tigray, Ethiopia: A Randomised Trial

No satisfactory strategy for reducing high child mortality from malaria has yet been established in tropical Africa. The authors compared the effect on under-5 mortality of teaching mothers to promptly provide antimalarials to their sick children at home, with the present community health worker approach. The study concludes that a major reduction in under-5 mortality can be achieved in holoendemic malaria areas through training local mother coordinators to teach mothers to give under-5 children antimalarial drugs. [adapted from abstract]

National Human Resources Plan for Health

The National Human Resource Plan is a national guideline for all stakeholders. It outlines broad issues whilst taking the lead in some areas in order to facilitate the resolution of some of the chronic systemic challenges facing the health system. In implementing this plan, all stakeholders will be required to adapt to the guidelines expressed here. It is envisaged that there will be a measure of variation between the provinces, because each province must take into consideration the prevailing conditions and demands on its human resource capacity to plan objectively.

Improving Health Outcomes for the Poor in Uganda: Current Status and Implications for Health Sector Development

This report attempts to provide a comprehensive assessment of health outcomes and of the health sector performance in targeting the poor. The report is guided by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Framework on health, nutrition and population and poverty. It also uses the frameworks on accountability and service provision from the World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People. The report builds upon a vast literature on the health sector in Uganda and uses available data from surveys and the health information system for its analysis. It provides an in depth examination of inequalities in health outcomes, health behavior and practices and of health system performance and financing from the equity perspective.

Achieving the Right Balance: The Role of Policy-Making Processes in Managing Human Resources for Health Problems

This document presents a framework for analyzing factors affecting the development and implementation of HRH policies and strategies.

Ethical International Recruitment of Health Professionals: Will Codes of Practice Protect Developing Country Health Systems?

Many countries are using the strategy of international recruitment to make up for shortages of health professionals. This is often to the detriment of health systems in the poorest parts of the world. Codes of practice on ethical international recruitment or similar instruments are beginning to be introduced at both national and international levels to protect the health systems of vulnerable countries. This study was designed to review the potential impact of existing instruments. [from executive summary]

Human Resources for Health: Developing Policy Options for Change

This paper is intended to be the basis for the development of policy options with countries for countries. As such, it has multiple objectives: to provide a guide for the analysis of human resources for health (HRH) as part of health systems performance assessment; to highlight HRH policy questions - derived from analyses and other input from countries — with which policy-makers are often struggling; to integrate HRH policy issues with indicators to assess and monitor HRH performance. [author’s description]

Dual Practice in the Health Sector: Review of the Evidence

This paper reports on income generation practices among civil servants in the health sector, with a particular emphasis on dual practice. It first approaches the subject of public-private overlap. Thereafter it focuses on coping strategies in general and then on dual practice in particular. In this paper dual practice is approached from six different perspectives: what is meant by dual practice; typology of dual practices; prevalence; impact on personal income, the health care system and health status; reasons; and possible interventions. [adapted from author]

Functional Job Analysis: Guidelines for Task Analysis and Job Design

This guide is designed for managers, supervisors, educators, planners, and evaluators. Its purpose is to discuss ways to improve decisions that affect how human resources are used to provide health services. Improved decisions require up-to-date and detailed information about three components of human resources for health: (1) the workforce, (2) the work performed and (3) the work settings. This guide discusses how to establish an information system that links these three components to form a unified model of human resources planning, training, and utilization. [from overview]

Human Capacity-Building Plan for Scaling Up HIV/AIDS Treatment

The human capacity-building plan proposes a set of products and services supporting countries in their efforts to plan for, train and sustain the human capacity to achieve 3 by 5.

Is There any Solution to the "Brain Drain" of Health Professionals and Knowledge from Africa?

African public health care systems suffer from significant brain drain of its health care professionals and knowledge as health workers migrate to wealthier countries. In this paper, the brain drain is defined as both a loss of health workers (hard brain drain) and unavailability of research results to users in Africa (soft brain drain).

Training of Human Resources for Health in Africa

Traditionally, training institutions have in the main adopted the training programmes of rich countries. Graduates from these programmes have not usually been suitably adapted to the needs of the communities where the vast majority of people live. As such, their practice has not been based on an appropriate consideration of the social determinants of health. Graduates have offered services which have neglected key aspects of people’s living and working circumstances and lifestyles as well as the health implications of economic policies. [from abstract]

Health Sector Policy: Government of Rwanda

The Health Sector Policy is the basis of national health planning and the first point of reference for all actors working in the health sector. It sets the health policy objectives, identifies the priority health interventions for meeting these objectives, outlines the role of each level in the health system, and provides guidelines for improved planning and evaluation of activities in the health sector. One of the priority interventions elaborated is Human Resources. [adapted from introduction]

HR and New Approaches to Public Sector Management: Improving HRM Capacity: Workshop on Global Health Workforce Strategy

This paper examines why building HR capacity is important to effective health care reform, assesses the existing evidence on HR capability in the health sector, and draws out lessons from existing practice. Developing HR capability requires investing in the training and development of both HR specialists and line managers/professionals with staff management responsibilities. It is vital that any investment in specialist HR capacity evaluates the different ways to deliver the HR function. To be effective the HR function must develop both an operational and a strategic HR capacity. [author’s sum

Skill Mix in the Health Care Workforce: Reviewing the Evidence

This paper discusses the reasons for skill mix among health workers being important for health systems. It examines the evidence base, identifies its limitations, summarizes the main findings from a literature review, and highlights the evidence on skill mix that is available to inform health system.

Migration and Health Workers

This issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization addresses the issue of the migration of health professionals. It includes articles about the genteral topic, specific measurements and evaluations of the problem and strategies to address the brain drain.

Technical Consultation on Imbalances in the Health Workforce: Report of the Consultation

A technical consultation on imbalances in the health workforce was held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, from 10 to 12 March 2002. The discussions focused on the following main themes: the rationale for WHO’s work on imbalances in the health workforce; developing a conceptual framework for defining imbalances in the health workforce; identifying sources of data required for optimal monitoring of imbalances; and identifying areas for further research. [author’s description]

Economic Incentive in Community Nursing: Attraction, Rejection or Indifference?

Using incentives and disincentives to direct individuals’ energies and behaviour is common practice in all work settings, of which the health care system is no exception. The range and influence of economic incentives/disincentives affecting community nurses are the subject of this discussion paper. The tendency by nurses to disregard, and in many cases, deny a direct impact of economic incentives/disincentives on their motivation and professional conduct is of particular interest. The goal of recent research was to determine if economic incentives/disincentives in community nursing exist, whether they have a perceivable impact and in what areas.

Human Resources for Health: Models for Projecting Workforce Supply and Requirements, Version 3.0

This document describes two microcomputer spreadsheet models for developing 10 to 30+ year projection scenarios for the supply of and requirements for human resources for health, and for studying the interactions between personnel policies, health sector costs and productivity. The models are designed for use at the national or subnational level, and users may define their projection period in the requirements model according to their needs. [from introduction]

Human Capital and the HIV Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

The overall objective of this paper is to provide some insights into the effects of the HIV epidemic on human capital in sub-Saharan Africa through a discussion of some of the factors that are operating. It is not intended as a compendium of data on the problem but aims instead to provide an analytical framework for understanding the policy and programming issues. There is an analysis of the impact on the public services in Malawi, a detailed presentation of the impact on education and health and a discussion of issues relating to the measurement of the impact on different productive sectors and the role of different social partners in adjusting to, and managing, the impact.