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Background: Many countries face critical challenges due to shortage and maldistribution of human resources for health (HRH). An HRH observatory can be used as a mechanism to monitor HRH issues and facilitate evidence-based decision-making. This study aims to identify the essential elements of an HRH observatory for Iran. Methods: This qualitative study was conducted through semi-structured interviews with 30 key informants over two months since May 2019. Purposeful and snowball sampling methods were used. Each interview lasted a minimum of 60 min. Data analysis was performed using the content analysis approach. Results: The essential elements for integrating HRH information were categorized into the following themes: organizational structure, partnership, prerequisites for implementing HRH observatory, data management, and evidence-informed policymaking. Our results propose a national HRH observatory for Iran consisting of steering, technical and research boards, and also stakeholders' and research networks under the governance of the ministry of health and medical education (MOHME). It is required to make a comprehensive plan in several steps and arrangements based on the country's situation. The stakeholder's network was identified based on their role in HRH development and production of information and evidence. The main aim of the HRH observatory considers monitoring trends in patterns of the HRH for evidence-based decision-making and policy development. Our results propose an evidence development network consisting of a national HRH Research Center (HRHRC) and a cooperative network formed by several medical universities. Conclusion: We provide a comprehensive approach to establishing a national HRH observatory. We consider the HRH observatory as a cooperative initiative among key stakeholders to produce knowledge in order to improve human resource policymaking. The proposed HRH observatory model emphasizes networking and stakeholder involvement.
Diverse pre-service midwifery education pathways in Cambodia and Malawi: A qualitative study utilising a midwifery education pathway conceptual framework.
OBJECTIVES: Educated and skilled midwives are required to improve maternal and newborn health and reduce stillbirths. There are three main approaches to the pre-service education of midwives: direct entry, post-nursing and integrated programmes combining nursing and midwifery. Within these, there can be multiple programmes of differing lengths and qualifications, with many countries offering numerous pathways. This study explores the history, rationale, benefits and disadvantages of multiple pre-service midwifery education in Malawi and Cambodia. The objectives are to investigate the differences in education, roles and deployment as well as how key informants perceive that the various pathways influence workforce, health care, and wider health systems outcomes in each country. DESIGN: Qualitative data were collected during semi-structured interviews and analysed using a pre-developed conceptual framework for understanding the development and outcomes of midwifery education programmes. The framework was created before data collection. SETTING: The setting is one Asian and one African country: Cambodia and Malawi. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one key informants with knowledge of maternal health care at the national level from different Government and non-governmental backgrounds. RESULTS: Approaches to midwifery education have historical origins. Different pathways have developed iteratively and are influenced by a need to fill vacancies, raise standards and professionalise midwifery. Cambodia has mostly focused on direct-entry midwifery while Malawi has a strong emphasis on dual-qualified nurse-midwives. Informants reported that associate midwifery cadres were often trained in a more limited set of competencies, but in reality were often required to carry out similar roles to professional midwives, often without supervision. While some respondents welcomed the flexibility offered by multiple cadres, a lack of coordination and harmonisation was reported in both countries. KEY CONCLUSIONS: The development of midwifery education in Cambodia and Malawi is complex and somewhat fragmented. While some midwifery cadres have been trained to fulfil a more limited role with fewer competencies, in practice they often have to perform a more comprehensive range of competencies. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Education of midwives in the full range of globally established competencies, and leadership and coordination between Ministries of Health, midwife educators and professional bodies are all needed to ensure midwives can have the greatest impact on maternal and newborn health and wellbeing.
How should support for hospital staff during health shocks be improved? A discussion from Japan's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Human resources for health are at the center of healthcare service delivery and play an important role in ensuring the resilience of health systems. Utilizing the results from a case study examining hospital resilience during COVID-19, this article draws on the experience of individual hospital staff during the first and second waves of the pandemic, briefly describes government responses to support human resources for health during the early stages of the pandemic, and argues the importance of constructive discussions about strategies to create an enabling work environment for healthcare providers, both clinical and non-clinical, during future health shocks.
Human Resources for Health (HRH) plays an integral role in healthcare service delivery. Gap in HRH has been a major concern with our healthcare ecosystem for a long time. It is vital to have adequately staffed public healthcare facilities, which are freely accessible to the population. To understand the reasons, we looked at the production, availability, and vacancies of HRH existing in public sector as well as measures taken for closing HRH gap during the period 2014-2015 to 2019-2020 and best practices adopted by the some of the State/UTs. We relied on official websites and official reports/statistics. While teaching capacity has increased significantly in recent past, and there are sufficient numbers of registered HRH, it has not translated into the recruitment of HRH in public facilities. Measures like campus placement, assured career progression, efficient and transparent recruitment process, modern and responsive HR management system, financial and non-financial incentives and notification of the vacant posts can play a vital role in filling the existing gaps. Some of the states have taken proactive measures for filling the vacancies, which can be replicated. The vacancies need to be filled in a mission mode. States also need to sanction required posts as per the norms. The ratio between different categories of healhtcare staff should be taken into consideration while sanctioning posts for these cadres. Availability of HRH in public sector as per norms would contribute toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal-3, reducing out of pocket expenditure and bring enormous socioeconomic gains.
The experiences and challenges of community health volunteers as agents for behaviour change programming in Africa: a scoping review.
Community health volunteers are considered a vital part of the community health structure in Africa. Despite this vital role in African health systems, very little is known about the community health volunteers' day-to-day lived experiences providing services in communities and supporting other health workers. This scoping review aims to advance understanding of the day-to-day experiences of community health volunteers in Africa. In doing so, this review draws attention to these under-considered actors in African health systems and identifies critical factors and conditions that represent challenges to community health volunteers' work in this context. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a synthesis of key challenges and considerations that can inform efforts to reduce attrition and improve the sustainability of community health volunteers in Africa. This scoping review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for scoping reviews checklist to achieve the objectives. A comprehensive search of six databases returned 2140 sources. After screening, 31 peer-reviewed studies were selected for final review. Analytical themes were generated based on the reviewers' extraction of article data into descriptive themes using an inductive approach. In reviewing community health volunteers' accounts of providing health services, five key challenges become apparent. These are: (1) challenges balancing work responsibilities with family obligations; (2) resource limitations; (3) exposure to stigma and harassment; (4) gendered benefits and risks; and (5) health-system level challenges. This scoping review highlights the extent of challenges community health volunteers must navigate to provide services in communities. Sustained commitment at the national and international level to understand the lived experiences of community health volunteers and mitigate common stressors these health actors face could improve their performance and inform future programs.
Prevalence and pattern of migration intention of doctors undergoing training programmes in public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
BACKGROUND: Emigration of Nigerian doctors, including those undergoing training, to the developed countries in Europe and Americas has reached an alarming rate. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed at assessing the prevalence, pattern, and determinants of migration intention among doctors undergoing residency and internship training programmes in the public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti state, Nigeria. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using a quantitative data collected from 182 doctors undergoing residency and internship training at the two tertiary hospitals. An adapted semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on migration intention among the eligible respondents. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate data analyses were done. The level of significance was determined at p-value < 0.05. RESULTS: Majority (53.9%) of doctors undergoing training were between 30-39 years, and the mean age was 33.2 ± 5.7 years, male respondents were 68.1%, and 53.8% of the respondents were married. The proportion of doctors undergoing training who had the intention to migrate abroad to practice was 74.2%. A higher proportion of the internship trainees, 79.5%, intended to migrate abroad to practice while the proportion among the resident doctors, was 70.6%. Among the respondents who intended to migrate abroad to practice, 85(63%) intend to migrate abroad within the next 2 years, while the preferred countries of destination were the United Kingdom 65(48.2%), Canada 29 (21.5%), Australia 20 (14.8%) and the United States 18(13.3%). Seventy percent of respondents who intend to migrate abroad had started working on implementation of their intention to migrate abroad. The majority of the junior resident doctors, 56(72.7%), intend to migrate abroad compared with the senior resident doctors, 21(27.3%), (χ2 = 14.039; p < 0.001). The determinants of migration intention are the stage of residency training and level of job satisfaction. CONCLUSION: There is a high prevalence of migration intention among the doctors undergoing training in the public tertiary hospitals in Ekiti State, Nigeria, with the majority already working on their plans to migrate abroad. Doctors undergoing training who are satisfied with their job and those who are in the senior stage of residency training programme are less inclined to migrate abroad. RECOMMENDATIONS: The hospital management in the tertiary hospitals should develop retention strategies for human resources for health, especially doctors undergoing training in their establishment, to avert the possible problems of dearth of specialists in the tertiary health facilities. Also, necessary support should be provided for the residency training programme in the tertiary health institutions to make transition from junior to senior residency stage less strenuous.
Fiscal autonomy of subnational governments and equity in healthcare resource allocation: Evidence from China.
Objectives: Promoting equity in healthcare resource allocation (EHRA) has become a critical political agenda of governments at all levels since the ambitious Universal Health Coverage was launched in China in 2009, while the role of an important institutional variable-fiscal autonomy of subnational governments-is often overlooked. The present study was designed to determine the effect of FASG on EHRA and its potential mechanism of action and heterogeneity characteristics to provide empirical support for the research field expansion and relative policies making of EHRA. Methods: From the start, we utilized the Theil index and the entropy method to calculate the EHRA index of 22 provinces (2011-2020) based on the medical resource data of 287 prefecture-level cities. Furthermore, we used the two-way fixed effects model (FE) to identify and analyze the impact of FASG on EHRA and then used three robustness test strategies and two-stage least squares (2SLS) regression to verify the reliability of the conclusions and deal with potential endogeneity problems, respectively. At last, we extend the baseline regression model and obtain the two-way FE threshold model for conducting heterogeneity analysis, which makes us verify whether the baseline model has nonlinear characteristics. Results: The static value and the trend of interannual changes in the EHRA values in different provinces are both very different. The regression results of the two-way FE model show that FASG has a significant positive impact on EHRA, and the corresponding estimated coefficient is - 0.0849 (P < 0.01). Moreover, this promotion effect can be reflected through two channels: enhancing the intensity of government health expenditure (IGHE) and optimizing the allocation of human resources for health (AHRH). At last, under the different economic and demographic constraints, the impact of FASG on EHRA has nonlinear characteristics, i.e., after crossing a specific threshold of per capita DGP (PGDP) and population density (PD), the promotion effect is reduced until it is not statistically significant, while after crossing a particular threshold of dependency ratio (DR), the promotion effect is further strengthened and still statistically significant. Conclusions: FASG plays an essential role in promoting EHRA, which shows that subnational governments need to attach great importance to the construction of fiscal capability in the allocation of health care resources, effectively improve the equity of medical and health fiscal expenditures, and promote the sustainable improvement of the level of EHRA.
BACKGROUND: As the 2016 Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 (GSHRH) outlines, health systems can only function with health workforce (HWF). Bangladesh is committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) hence a comprehensive understanding of the existing HWF was deemed necessary informing policy and funding decisions to the health system. METHODS: The health labour market analysis (HLMA) framework for UHC cited in the GSHRH was adopted to analyse the supply, need and demand of all health workers in Bangladesh. Government's information systems provided data to document the public sector HWF. A national-level assessment (2019) based on a country representative sample of 133 geographical units, served to estimate the composition and distribution of the private sector HWF. Descriptive statistics served to characterize the formal and informal HWF. RESULTS: The density of doctors, nurses and midwives in Bangladesh was only 9.9 per 10 000 population, well below the indicative sustainable development goals index threshold of 44.5 outlined in the GSHRH. Considering all HWFs in Bangladesh, the estimated total density was 49 per 10 000 population. However, one-third of all HWFs did not hold recognized roles and their competencies were unknown, taking only qualified and recognized HWFs into account results in an estimated density 33.2. With an estimate 75 nurses per 100 doctors in Bangladesh, the second area, where policy attention appears to be warranted is on the competencies and skill-mix. Thirdly, an estimated 82% of all HWFs work in the private sector necessitates adequate oversight for patient safety. Finally, a high proportion of unfilled positions in the public sector, especially in rural areas where 67% of the population lives, account only 11% of doctors and nurses. CONCLUSION: Bangladesh is making progress on many of the milestones of the GSHRH, notably, the establishment of the HWF unit and reporting through the national health workforce accounts. However, particular investment on strengthening the intersectoral HWF coordination across sectors; regulation for assurance of patient safety and adequate oversight of the private sector; establishing accreditation mechanisms for training institutions; and halving inequalities in access to a qualified HWF are important towards advancing UHC in Bangladesh.
Evaluating the effects of supplementing ward nurses on quality of newborn care in Kenyan neonatal units: protocol for a prospective workforce intervention study.
BACKGROUND: Data from High Income Countries have now linked low nurse staff to patient ratios to poor quality patient care. Adequately staffing hospitals is however still a challenge in resource-constrained Low-middle income countries (LMICs) and poor staff-to-patient ratios are largely taken as a norm. This in part relates to limited evidence on the relationship between staffing and quality of patient care in these settings and also an absence of research on benefits that might occur from improving hospital staff numbers in LMICs. This study will determine the effect on the quality of patient care of prospectively adding extra nursing staff to newborn units in a resource constrained LMIC setting and describe the relationship between staffing and quality of care. METHODS: This prospective workforce intervention study will involve a multi-method approach. We will conduct a before and after study in newborn units of 4 intervention hospitals and a single time-point comparison in 4 non-intervention hospitals to determine if there is a change in the level of missed nursing care, a process measure of the quality of patient care. We will also determine the effect of our intervention on routinely collected quality indicators using interrupted time series analysis. Using three nurse staffing metrics (Total nursing hours, nursing hours per patient day and nursing hours per patient per shift), we will describe the relationship between staffing and the quality of patient care. DISCUSSION: There is an urgent need for the implementation of staffing policies in resource constrained LMICs that are guided by relevant contextual data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the prospective addition of nursing staff in resource-constrained care settings. Our findings are likely to provide the much-needed evidence for better staffing in these settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study was retrospectively registered in the Pan African Clinical Trial Registry ( https://pactr.samrc.ac.za/Default.aspx?Logout=True ) database on the 10th of June 2022 with a unique identification number-PACTR202206477083141.
Human resources for health (HRH) is a cornerstone in the medical system. This paper combined data envelopment analysis (DEA) with Tobit regression analysis to evaluate the efficiency of health care services in China over the years between 2007 and 2019. Efficiency was first estimated by using DEA with the choice of inputs and outputs being specific to health care services and residents' health status. Malmquist index model was selected for estimating the changes in total factor productivity of provinces and exploring whether their performance had improved over the years. Tobit regression model was then employed in which the efficiency score obtained from the DEA computations used as the dependent variable, and HRH was chosen as the independent variables. The results showed that all kinds of health personnel had a significantly positive impact on the efficiency, and more importantly, pharmacists played a critical role in affecting both the provincial and national efficiency. Therefore, the health sector should pay more attention to optimizing allocation of HRH and focusing on professional training of clinical pharmacists.
The Virtual Campus for Public Health (VCPH) is the educational platform of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Its objective is to lead strategic collaborative efforts among Member States and other partners to promote the training of human resources for health, for all people everywhere. The VCPH is structured in three nodes (regional, subregional, national) and it responds to the Strategy on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage. It works in coordination with the technical departments at PAHO, with the PAHO/WHO country offices in the Region, as well as with institutions that work on public health education and training. All VCPH courses are open access for participants and reflect PAHO's technical cooperation areas. The VCPH offers courses in PAHO’s four official languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
BACKGROUND: Globally, nearly 295,000 women die every year during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) can avert 75% of maternal mortality if all mothers get quality healthcare. Improving maternal health needs identification and addressing of barriers that limit access to quality maternal health services. Hence, this study aimed to assess the quality of EmONC service and its predictors in Wolaita Zone, southern Ethiopia. METHODOLOGY: A facility-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 14 health facilities. A facility audit was conducted on 14 health facilities, and 423 women were randomly selected to participate in observation of care and exit interview. The Open Data Kit (ODK) platform and Stata version 17 were used for data entry and analysis, respectively. Frequencies and summary statistics were used to describe the study population. Simple and multiple linear regressions were done to identify candidate and predictor variables of service quality. Coefficients with 95% confidence intervals were used to declare the significance and strength of association. Input, process, and output quality indices were created by calculating the means of standard items available or actions performed by each category and were used to describe the quality of EmONC. RESULT: The mean input, process, and output EmONC services qualities were 74.2, 69.4, and 79.6%, respectively. Of the study participants, 59.2% received below 75% of the standard clinical actions (observed quality) of EmONC services. Women's educational status (B = 5.35, 95% C.I: 0.56, 10.14), and (B = 8.38, 95% C.I: 2.92, 13.85), age (B = 3.86, 95% C.I: 0.39, 7.33), duration of stay at the facility (B = 3.58, 95% C.I: 2.66, 4.9), number of patients in the delivery room (B = - 4.14, 95% C.I: - 6.14, - 2.13), and care provider's experience (B = 1.26, 95% C.I: 0.83, 1.69) were independent predictors of observed service quality. CONCLUSION: The EmONC services quality was suboptimal in Wolaita Zone. Every three-in-five women received less than three-fourths of the standard clinical actions. The health system, care providers, and other stakeholders should emphasize improving the quality of care by availing medical infrastructure, adhering to standard procedures, enhancing human resources for health, and providing standard care regardless of women's characteristics.
Nigerian stakeholders' perceptions of a pilot tier accreditation system for Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors to expand access to family planning services.
BACKGROUND: Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) are often the first point of care for many Nigerians, and when sufficiently trained, they contribute to the expansion of family planning services. Nigeria's task shifting policy and existing regulatory and licensing bodies provide the enabling environment for PPMVs to be stratified and trained. This study explored the perceptions of stakeholders toward the pilot three-tier accreditation system instituted by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria with support from the IntegratE project. METHODS: Two rounds of qualitative phone interviews were conducted among stakeholders in Kaduna and Lagos states in 2020 and 2021. In addition, there were two rounds of phone interviews with CPs and PPMVs (program recipients) from Lagos and Kaduna states. All participants were purposively selected, based on their involvement in the IntegratE project activities. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using Atlas.ti software. Thematic analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Fifteen stakeholders and 28 program recipients and 12 stakeholders and 30 program recipients were interviewed during the first and second rounds of data collection respectively. The data are presented around three main themes: 1) the pilot three-tier accreditation system; 2) enabling environment; and 3) implementation challenges. The accreditation system that allows for the stratification and training of PPMVs to provide family planning services was perceived in a positive light by majority of participants. The integrated supportive supervision team that included representation from the licensing and regulatory body was seen as a strength. However, it was noted that the licensing process needs to be more effective. Implementation challenges that need to be addressed prior to scale up include bottlenecks in licensing procedures and the deep-rooted mistrust between CPs and PPMVs. CONCLUSION: Scale up of the three-tier accreditation system has the potential to expand access to family planning services in Nigeria. In other resource-poor settings where human resources for health are in short supply and where drug shops are ubiquitous, identifying drug shop owners, training them to offer a range of family planning services, and providing the enabling environment for them to function may help to improve access to family planning services.
The coronavirus disease-19 pandemic has spread to all parts of the world. As of 20 May 2022, over 500 million confirmed cases have occurred with over 6 million deaths. In Nigeria, over 255,000 cases have occurred with more than 3000 deaths. The pandemic has adversely affected virtually all aspects of human endeavour, with a severe impact on the health system. The Nigerian health system was ill prepared for the pandemic, and this further weakened it. The impacts of the pandemic on the health system include disruption of health services, low motivation of the health workforce, unresponsive leadership and poor funding. The national response, though initially weak, was ramped up to expand capacity building, testing, public enlightenment, creation of isolation and treatment centres and research. The funding for the national response was from the government, private sector and multilateral donors. Nigeria must comprehensively strengthen its health system through motivating and building the capacity of its human resources for health, improved service delivery and provision of adequate funding, to be better prepared against future pandemics.
[Implementation of the plan of action for human resources for health and the COVID-19 pandemic responseImplementação do plano de ação sobre recursos humanos para a saúde e a resposta à pandemia de COVID-19].
Objectives: Systematize and analyze the response actions related to human resources for health during the pandemic, reported by 20 countries of the Region of the Americas in the mid-term evaluation of the Plan of Action on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage 2018-2023 (Pan American Health Organization, 2018), and assess the importance of the policies on human resources for health (HRH) and on HRH management expressed in the Plan of Action and in the Strategy on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage during health emergencies and in normal times. Methods: Reports on actions taken in 20 countries of the Region against COVID-19 and for HRH were selected and systematized. These were classified as immediate contingency actions, actions related to installed capacities, and emerging actions. Results: The capacity to plan and manage HRH in countries depends on their installed, functional structures and competencies. The pandemic highlighted the need to have new job profiles, improve precarious working and contractual conditions, emphasize the gender perspective, and address numerical gaps in certain areas and levels of care. Conclusions: Linking the monitoring of the Plan of Action with the COVID-19 response demonstrated the importance of HRH governance, management, and installed capacities when responding to health emergencies and in normal times. The analysis suggests a need to review existing public policies, models of care that can guide current and future needs in HRH, the profiles required, working conditions, and ways to close numerical gaps, among other issues. The pandemic enabled countries to innovate in response to demands. The Strategy and the Plan of Action remain in place to guide and strengthen the performance of human resources for health. Objetivos: Sistematizar e analisar as ações de resposta relacionadas aos recursos humanos para a saúde durante a pandemia, relatadas por 20 países da Região das Américas na avaliação intermediária do Plano de ação sobre recursos humanos para o acesso universal à saúde e a cobertura universal de saúde 2018-2023 (Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde, 2018), e avaliar a importância das políticas e da gestão de recursos humanos expressas na estratégia e no plano durante emergências de saúde e em tempos normais. Métodos: Foram selecionados e sistematizados relatórios sobre ações contra a COVID-19 e recursos humanos para a saúde de 20 países da Região. As ações foram classificadas em ações imediatas de contingência, ações relacionadas às capacidades instaladas e ações emergentes. Resultados: As capacidades de planejamento e gestão de recursos humanos para a saúde nos países dependem das estruturas e das competências instaladas e funcionais. A pandemia tornou visível a necessidade de ter novos perfis de trabalho, melhorar as precárias condições de trabalho e contratuais, tornar visível a perspectiva de gênero e solucionar lacunas numéricas em determinadas áreas e níveis de atenção. Conclusões: A vinculação das ações contra a COVID-19 com o monitoramento do plano demonstrou a importância da governança, da gestão e das capacidades instaladas relacionadas aos recursos humanos para a saúde, para responder a emergências de saúde e em tempos normais. A análise convida à revisão das políticas públicas existentes, dos modelos de atenção necessários para orientar as necessidades atuais e futuras dos recursos humanos para a saúde, os perfis exigidos, as condições de trabalho e a cobertura das lacunas numéricas existentes, entre outras questões. A pandemia permitiu inovações nos países para responder à demanda. A estratégia e o plano continuam vigentes para orientar e fortalecer o desempenho dos recursos humanos para a saúde.
The global health workforce stock and distribution in 2020 and 2030: a threat to equity and 'universal' health coverage?
OBJECTIVE: The 2016 Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 projected a global shortage of 18 million health workers by 2030. This article provides an assessment of the health workforce stock in 2020 and presents a revised estimate of the projected shortage by 2030. METHODS: Latest data reported through WHO's National Health Workforce Accounts (NHWA) were extracted to assess health workforce stock for 2020. Using a stock and flow model, projections were computed for the year 2030. The global health workforce shortage estimation was revised. RESULTS: In 2020, the global workforce stock was 29.1 million nurses, 12.7 million medical doctors, 3.7 million pharmacists, 2.5 million dentists, 2.2 million midwives and 14.9 million additional occupations, tallying to 65.1 million health workers. It was not equitably distributed with a 6.5-fold difference in density between high-income and low-income countries. The projected health workforce size by 2030 is 84 million health workers. This represents an average growth of 29% from 2020 to 2030 which is faster than the population growth rate (9.7%). This reassessment presents a revised global health workforce shortage of 15 million health workers in 2020 decreasing to 10 million health workers by 2030 (a 33% decrease globally). WHO African and Eastern Mediterranean regions' shortages are projected to decrease by only 7% and 15%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The latest NHWA data show progress in the increasing size of the health workforce globally as more jobs are and will continue to be created in the health economy. It however masks considerable inequities, particularly in WHO African and Eastern Mediterranean regions, and alarmingly among the 47 countries on the WHO Support and Safeguards List. Progress should be acknowledged with caution considering the immeasurable impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health workers globally.
BACKGROUND: Investing in the health workforce is key to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. However, achieving these Goals requires addressing a projected global shortage of 18 million health workers (mostly in low- and middle-income countries). Within that context, in 2016, the World Health Assembly adopted the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030. In the Strategy, the role of official development assistance to support the health workforce is an area of interest. The objective of this study is to examine progress on implementing the Global Strategy by updating previous analyses that estimated and examined official development assistance targeted towards human resources for health. METHODS: We leveraged data from IHME's Development Assistance for Health database, COVID development assistance database and the OECD's Creditor Reporting System online database. We utilized an updated keyword list to identify the relevant human resources for health-related activities from the project databases. When possible, we also estimated the fraction of human resources for health projects that considered and/or focused on gender as a key factor. We described trends, examined changes in the availability of human resources for health-related development assistance since the adoption of the Global Strategy and compared disease burden and availability of donor resources. RESULTS: Since 2016, development assistance for human resources for health has increased with a slight dip in 2019. In 2020, fueled by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it reached an all-time high of $4.1 billion, more than double its value in 2016 and a 116.5% increase over 2019. The highest share (42.4%) of support for human resources for health-related activities has been directed towards training. Since the adoption of the Global Strategy, donor resources for health workforce-related activities have on average increased by 13.3% compared to 16.0% from 2000 through 2015. For 47 countries identified by the WHO as having severe workforce shortages, the availability of donor resources remains modest. CONCLUSIONS: Since 2016, donor support for health workforce-related activities has increased. However, there are lingering concerns related to the short-term nature of activities that donor funding supports and its viability for creating sustainable health systems.
Measuring the availability of human resources for health and its relationship to universal health coverage for 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
BACKGROUND: Human resources for health (HRH) include a range of occupations that aim to promote or improve human health. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the WHO Health Workforce 2030 strategy have drawn attention to the importance of HRH for achieving policy priorities such as universal health coverage (UHC). Although previous research has found substantial global disparities in HRH, the absence of comparable cross-national estimates of existing workforces has hindered efforts to quantify workforce requirements to meet health system goals. We aimed to use comparable and standardised data sources to estimate HRH densities globally, and to examine the relationship between a subset of HRH cadres and UHC effective coverage performance. METHODS: Through the International Labour Organization and Global Health Data Exchange databases, we identified 1404 country-years of data from labour force surveys and 69 country-years of census data, with detailed microdata on health-related employment. From the WHO National Health Workforce Accounts, we identified 2950 country-years of data. We mapped data from all occupational coding systems to the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1988 (ISCO-88), allowing for standardised estimation of densities for 16 categories of health workers across the full time series. Using data from 1990 to 2019 for 196 of 204 countries and territories, covering seven Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) super-regions and 21 regions, we applied spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression (ST-GPR) to model HRH densities from 1990 to 2019 for all countries and territories. We used stochastic frontier meta-regression to model the relationship between the UHC effective coverage index and densities for the four categories of health workers enumerated in SDG indicator 3.c.1 pertaining to HRH: physicians, nurses and midwives, dentistry personnel, and pharmaceutical personnel. We identified minimum workforce density thresholds required to meet a specified target of 80 out of 100 on the UHC effective coverage index, and quantified national shortages with respect to those minimum thresholds. FINDINGS: We estimated that, in 2019, the world had 104·0 million (95% uncertainty interval 83·5-128·0) health workers, including 12·8 million (9·7-16·6) physicians, 29·8 million (23·3-37·7) nurses and midwives, 4·6 million (3·6-6·0) dentistry personnel, and 5·2 million (4·0-6·7) pharmaceutical personnel. We calculated a global physician density of 16·7 (12·6-21·6) per 10 000 population, and a nurse and midwife density of 38·6 (30·1-48·8) per 10 000 population. We found the GBD super-regions of sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and north Africa and the Middle East had the lowest HRH densities. To reach 80 out of 100 on the UHC effective coverage index, we estimated that, per 10 000 population, at least 20·7 physicians, 70·6 nurses and midwives, 8·2 dentistry personnel, and 9·4 pharmaceutical personnel would be needed. In total, the 2019 national health workforces fell short of these minimum thresholds by 6·4 million physicians, 30·6 million nurses and midwives, 3·3 million dentistry personnel, and 2·9 million pharmaceutical personnel. INTERPRETATION: Considerable expansion of the world's health workforce is needed to achieve high levels of UHC effective coverage. The largest shortages are in low-income settings, highlighting the need for increased financing and coordination to train, employ, and retain human resources in the health sector. Actual HRH shortages might be larger than estimated because minimum thresholds for each cadre of health workers are benchmarked on health systems that most efficiently translate human resources into UHC attainment. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
BACKGROUND: The global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus highlights both the importance of frontline healthcare workers (HCW) in pandemic response and their heightened vulnerability during infectious disease outbreaks. Adequate preparation, including the development of human resources for health (HRH) is essential to an effective response. ICAP at Columbia University (ICAP) partnered with Resolve to Save Lives and MOHs to design an emergency training initiative for frontline HCW in 11 African countries, using a competency-based backward-design approach and tailoring training delivery and health facility selection based on country context, location and known COVID-19 community transmission. METHODS: Pre- and post-test assessments were conducted on participants completing the COVID-19 training. Parametric and non-parametric methods were used to examine average individual-level changes from pre- to post-test, and compare performance between countries, cadres, sex and facility types. A post-evaluation online training survey using Qualtrics was distributed to assess participants' satisfaction and explore training relevance and impact on their ability to address COVID-19 in their facilities and communities. RESULTS: A total of 8797 HCW at 945 health facilities were trained between June 2020 and October 2020. Training duration ranged from 1 to 8 days (median: 3 days) and consisted of in person, virtual or self guided training. Of the 8105 (92%) HCW working at health facilities, the majority (62%) worked at secondary level facilities as these were the HF targeted for COVID-19 patients. Paired pre- and post-test results were available for 2370 (25%) trainees, and 1768 (18%) participants completed the post-evaluation training survey. On average, participants increased their pre- to post-test scores by 15 percentage points (95% CI 0.14, 0.15). While confidence in their ability to manage COVID-19 was high following the training, respondents reported that lack of access to testing kits (55%) and PPE (50%), limited space in the facility to isolate patients (45%), and understaffing (39%) were major barriers. CONCLUSION: Ongoing investment in health systems and focused attention to health workforce capacity building is critical to outbreak response. Successful implementation of an emergency response training such as this short-term IPC training initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, requires speed, rigor and flexibility of its design and delivery while building on pre-existing systems, resources, and partnerships.
Universal Health Coverage and the Pacific Islands: An Overview of Senior Leaders' Discussions, Challenges, Priorities and Solutions, 2015-2020.
In 1995, Pacific Health Ministers articulated their vision of a healthy Pacific as 'a place where children are nurtured in body and mind; environments invite learning and leisure; people work and age with dignity; where ecological balance is a source of pride; and where the ocean is protected.' Central to this vision is the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC). To provide an indication of the UHC-related priorities of Pacific health authorities and promote alignment of domestic and international investments in health sector development, we thematically analyzed the discussion, resolutions, and recommendations from 5 years (2015-2020) of senior-level Pacific health meetings. Five main themes emerged: (i) the Healthy Islands vision has (and continues to have) a unifying influence on action for UHC; (ii) adoption of appropriate service delivery models that support integrated primary health care at the community level are needed; (iii) human resources for health are critical if efforts to achieve UHC are to be successful; (iv) access to reliable health information is core to health sector improvement; and (v) while not a panacea for all challenges, digital health offers many opportunities. Small and isolated populations, chronic workforce limitations, weak governance arrangements, ageing and inadequate health facilities, and supply chain and logistics difficulties (among other issues) interact to challenge primary health care delivery across the Pacific Islands. We found evidence that the Healthy Islands vision is a tool that garners support for UHC; however, to realize the vision, a realistic understanding of needed political, human resource, and economic investments is required. The significant disruptive effect of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it brings for implementation of the medium- to long-term health development agenda raises concern that progress may stagnate or retreat.