Resource Spotlight: Strategic Management of the Health Workforce in Developing Countries: What Have We Learned?

Factors affecting worker motivation and behavior
Factors affecting worker motivation and behavior

The study of the health workforce has gained in prominence in recent years, as the dynamic interconnections between human resource issues and health system effectiveness have come into sharper focus. This paper reviews lessons relating to strategic management challenges emerging from the growing literature in this area. Workforce issues are strategic: they affect overall system performance as well as the feasibility and sustainability of health reforms. Viewing workforce issues strategically forces health authorities to confront the yawning gaps between policy and implementation in many developing countries.

This article presents lessons learned from four areas: workforce structure; the difficulties of central-level steering of the health workforce; worker capacity and motivation; and emerging reforms centering on service contracting and improvements to human resource management. Adapted from abstract.

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