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

 

Pilot study of quality of care training and knowledge in Sub-Saharan African medical schools

This study examines the capacity of medical schools in sub-Saharan African countries to teach about the concepts of quality of care and include these concepts in their curriculum. While 45% of the schools surveyed are teaching on at least...

Pre-service Quality Improvement Module Outline

The purpose of this module is for students in health care professions to attain knowledge, attitudes, and competencies required to continuously improve health care once they are in active service. At the end of this course, the learner...

Integration of Improvement in Pre-service Health Worker Training Curriculum: Lessons Learned

ASSIST has been participating in the ongoing Kenya Ministry of Health’s pre-service curriculum development committee, under the Quality Management Technical Working Group (QM-TWG), providing technical assistance to develop a quality...

Improving community health worker performance and productivity: Findings from USAID-supported studies in Swaziland and Uganda

Community health workers (CHWs) play an essential role in HIV prevention, care, and treatment by improving linkages between those that need care and those that can provide it and by supporting retention in care and self-management for...

Sustaining CHW Programs in the HIV Response: Lessons Learned from the United States

Community health workers (CHWs) have an important role in the HIV response globally, especially to increase coverage, uptake, and retention of HIV services at the community level, to reach the 90-90-90 targets. In HIV-burdened countries,...

A clear guide to improving care of mothers and babies in low-resource settings

By: Tamar Chitashvili, Silvia Holschneider, Jorge Hermida, and Nigel Livesley 

There is growing recognition that clinical training and health infrastructure — while essential—are insufficient for improving and sustaining life-saving maternal and newborn health care services in low-resource settings. Instead, broader systems strengthening and continuous quality improvement efforts at the service delivery level are needed to continuously assess gaps in processes and content of care and to plan, test, implement, regularly monitor, refine and institute changes to deliver services correctly and consistently. To respond to this need and help frontline care providers in their continuous quality improvement journey, “Improving Care for Mothers and Babies: A Guide for Improvement Teams” was recently developed through collaborative efforts of the Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance (S&T GDA).

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