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


Apoyo psicosocial para las embarazadas y las familias afectadas por el síndrome congénito asociado al Zika

Esta guía "Apoyo psicosocial para mujeres embarazadas y familias afectadas por el síndrome congénito asociado con ZIKA", se elaboró en el marco del Proyecto ASSIST-Zika con el fin de proporcionar pautas a los proveedores de salud donde se...

Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health-Quality Talks Podcast

Quality Talks is the podcast of the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Quality Talks are stories of healthcare professionals who are experienced in running and managing quality of care initiatives...

Marcos de apoyo psicoemocional en el contexto del Zika

APOYO PSICOSOCIAL: Consejeria en crisis en el contexto del Zika Este folleto psicosocial proporciona una guía para brindar apoyo a través de acciones y lenguaje corporal. Siguiendo el acrónimo "P.O.D.E.R." el folleto proporciona...

High-quality health systems in the Sustainable Development Goals Era

Health care in middle and low income countries has greatly improved in the past several decades, but changing health needs, growing public expectations and new health goals are rasing the bar for health systems to produce better health...

The USAID ASSIST Project’s approach to improving health care in low- and middle-income countries

The objective of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project is to improve the quality and outcomes of health care and other services by enabling host country providers and managers to apply the science of...

Materiales para vigilancia neurodesarrollo infantes Nicaragua

Spanish El paquete pedagógico es una herramienta para el desarrollo de competencias en el personal de las instituciones prestadoras de servicios de salud y en los estudiantes de las que son formadoras de recursos humanos para el sector...

Survive & Thrive Final Report

Demonstrated that training is not enough and that quality improvement approaches are essential to sustain quality care for mothers and newborns in low-resource settings, the Survive & Thrive Final Report highlights the efforts that...