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

 

Evaluation of Medical and Nursing Competencies in Antenatal, Delivery, and Newborn Care in Five SILAIS in Nicaragua

In 2005 the Ministry of Health (MINSA) of Nicaragua conducted the first study of competencies of health staff who provide maternal and newborn services. Based on these results, MINSA, in conjunction with external agencies and projects,...

Assessment of the Human Resources System in Niger

Throughout Africa, a human resources crisis in the public health system has become one of the biggest challenges in the battle against HIV/AIDS, the improvement of maternal and child health and the management of chronic diseases. Health...

Niger Human Resources Improvement Project Nominated for Two Awards at WHO Health Workforce Forum in Bangkok

A Human Resources (HR) Improvement Collaborative in Niger’s Tahoua region and its key implementer, Dr. Saidou M. Ekoye , are finalists for two WHO Global Health Workforce Alliance Awards. Award winners will be announced during the Second...

Humanization, cultural adequacy and demand generation for quality maternal care in Ecuador

In 2005, the Quality Assurance Project (QAP) pilot tested in one province of Ecuador a method for improving the cultural acceptability of obstetric care in public facilities—an important barrier to increasing skilled attendance in many...

Sustainability of the Effectiveness of a PMTCT Counselor Training Program during National Scale-up | Tanzania

This study evaluated whether a PMTCT Infant Feeding Counseling Program that includes training of counselors, facility supervisors and facility staff, counselor job aids, and mother take-home brochures was fully implemented in program...

Baseline Assessment of HIV Service Provider Productivity and Efficiency in Uganda

In 2009, the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, began implementing an improvement collaborative aimed at increasing the number of clients accessing HIV/AIDS care and antiretroviral...

Measuring Employee Engagement

The scarce and ill-prepared health workforce has become one of the major global challenges in health care. Qualified health care workers are in short supply and demand is high. Because they work for low wages and in harsh conditions, these...

WHO Task Shifting Guidelines: Rational redistribution of tasks among health workforce teams

The global recommendations and guidelines on task-shifting propose the adoption or expansion of a task-shifting approach as one method of strengthening and expanding the health workforce to rapidly increase access to HIV and other health...

Niger| Human Resources for Health Collaborative

Date improvement activities began: May, 2009 Date of end of collaborative: December, 2011 Aims/objectives: The collaborative focuses on the management of Human Resources for Health in Niger to improve the performance of health workers and...

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...

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