Health Workforce Development

Health Workforce training with model baby

Crucial for efforts to provide universal health coverage is the strengthening of the existing health workforce – maximizing the talents that are currently available and building mechanisms to ensure that productivity, performance, and engagement will continue to improve as these resources grow and evolve.  In order to obtain desired results, it is necessary to both explore and develop the evidence to enhance our understanding of the factors that influence health worker outputs and clinical outcomes.  This is accomplished through innovative research that is then used to develop practical tools and guidance that is applied to analyze and strengthen health workforce planning, management, and development.  Applying improvement approaches to engage health workers in providing quality care and to empower teams to deliver better services to more users is an integral part of systems strengthening. 

In many countries the performance of health workers is constrained by factors such as regular stock-out of medicines, shortage of supplies, high levels of staff turnover, unclear job expectations, and limited feedback and supervision. Growing evidence suggests that improving the productivity and engagement of health workers and addressing performance factors within the health workforce contribute to improved care outcomes.  Improvement methods can help to:

  • Clarify roles and expectations, assess work distribution and rationalize tasks among team members, and introduce measurement of performance
  • Develop and test incentives, rewards and consequences that reinforce strong performance and discourage poor performance, from verbal recognition to career path and bonus mechanisms
  • Strengthen performance feedback mechanisms among members of the care delivery team, supervisors, and community members
  • Enhance the work environment, including both the physical environment (including safety and the availability of supplies) and the non-physical environment (including management practices that build confidence and security, mechanisms for coordination and communication, and protection from violence or harassment), to enable health workers to perform at their best
  • Build the competencies needed to implement tasks and perform at expected levels

 

Improving Interpersonal Communication Between Healthcare Providers and Clients

This course was designed for care providers responsible for counseling, educating, or otherwise communicating with clients. Topics included characteristics of effective interpersonal communication, including caring and socioemotional...

Malawi field study: Comparison of methods for assessing quality of health worker performance related to management of ill children

The Quality Assurance Project (QAP), initiated in 1990, provides technical assistance to developing countries in designing and implementing effective strategies for monitoring the quality of health care. This fourth report in QAP's Quality...

Niger country report: Tahoua project

This study evaluated the Tahoua Quality Assurance (QA) Project in Niger. The project aimed to improve the delivery of critical primary health care service by training, clarify clinical and management standards, monitor, and put in place a...

Measuring the competence of healthcare providers

Competence encompasses knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits, which are acquired through pre-service education, in-service training, and work experience in the healthcare industry. Competence is a major determinant of provider...

The Zambia HIV/AIDS Workforce Study: preparing for scale-up.

This report presents the findings of a study conducted within 16 healthcare facilities in Zambia that offer voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (P-MTCT), and antiretroviral (ARV)...

How can self-assessment improve the quality of healthcare?

Self-assessment could be particularly valuable in developing country healthcare settings where individual service providers often work without a supervisor or colleague to guide their performance. The QA Project has an interest in self-...

Improving interpersonal communication between health care providers and clients

This monograph discusses the importance of interpersonal communication (IPC) as a tool for improving health care outcomes in developing countries and describes techniques for enhancing provider communication skills. In addition, it...

Improving provider-client communication: reinforcing IPC/C training in Indonesia with self-assessment and peer review

To improve the quality of reproductive health care in Indonesia, refresher training in interpersonal communication and counseling (IPC/C) has been offered to clinic-based family planning service providers who attend to family planning...

The impact of self-assessment with peer feedback on health provider performance in Mali

Improving the quality of clinical care in developing country settings is difficult, both in public sector settings where supervision is infrequent and in private sector settings where supervision and certification are non-existent...

The use of manual job aids by health care providers: What do we know?

This paper describes the use of manual job aids as an innovative intervention to help improve the performance of health care providers. The Quality Assurance Project has focused its attention to this particular intervention because of its...

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