Managing uncertainty in forecasting health workforce demand using the Robust Workforce Planning Framework: the example of midwives in Belgium.
The long-standing underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in medicine is well-known, but poorly documented globally. There is some evidence of the gender gap in academia, medical society leadership, or specific problems in some specialties. However, there are no investigations analyzing all medical specialties together and reporting the glass ceiling from a 360º perspective that includes positions in academia, research, professional organizations, and clinical activity. Additionally, the majority of studies have a US perspective, and we wonder if the perspective of a European country might be different. The WOmen in MEDicine in Spain (WOMEDS) project (https://womeds.es) aims to describe and characterize, in a systematic and detailed way, the gender bias in the medical profession in Spain in order to monitor its evolution over time and contribute to prioritizing gender policies.Methods
We retrieved data for the calendar years 2019–2021 from several sources and selected surveys. We built four groups of indicators to describe leadership positions in the medical profession: (i) leadership in healthcare according to specialty and region; (ii) leadership in scientific and professional bodies; (iii) academic career; and (iv) leadership in clinical research activity. As a summary measure, we reported the women ratios, calculated as the percentage of women in specific top positions divided by the percentage of women in the relevant population.Results
We found gender inequity in leadership positions in all four settings. During the observed period, only 27.6% of the heads of departments in hospitals were women compared to 61.1% of women in medical staff. Ten of the 46 medical societies grouped in the Spanish Federation of Medical Societies (FACME) (21.7%) had a women president at some point during the study period, and only 4 annual congresses had ratios of women speakers higher than 1. Women were over-represented in the lower positions and underrepresented in the top academic ones. Only 26% and 27%, respectively, of the heads of departments and deans were women. The applications for public funding for research projects are led by women only in 45% of the cases, and the budget granted to women in public calls was 24.3% lower than that of men.Conclusion
In all the areas analyzed, the leadership positions are still mostly occupied by men despite the feminization of medicine in Spain. The severe gender inequity found calls for urgent interventions within a defined time horizon. Such measures must concern all levels, from national or regional regulation to changes in organizational culture or incentives in specific organizations.
Knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding gestational diabetes mellitus among pregnant women: A cross-sectional study
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a serious threat to first-time pregnancy.Objective
To determine the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) regarding gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among pregnant women on antenatal appointment in government approved healthcare facilities in Nigeria and also to establish the significant correlation and association within sociodemographic variables.Methods
It was a facility-based cross-sectional study, conducted in government-approved healthcare facilities in Nigeria, from January to March, 2023. A total of 1750 pregnant women were sampled and surveyed using convenient sampling technique. Data were collected using an adapted questionnaire “Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Questionnaire” with 0.87 reliability index. Statistical analysis was completed using IBM SPSS version 22. Frequency, percentage, odds ratio statistics, and chi-square test were applied for data analysis. All computations were deemed statistically significant at p value ≤ 0.05.Results
Out of 1750 eligible participants, 1488 (88.4%) valid responses were analyzed. The study showed that 69% knew about GDM, 65% had positive attitude, and 79% had desirable GDM practice. Statistically, there were strong correlation between KAP regarding GDM and age, marital status, education level, and parity status (odds ratio ≥ 1). Furthermore, the KAP regarding GDM was significantly associated with alcohol consumption, education, parity status, and resident (p value < 0.05), respectively.Conclusion
Approximately three-quarter of the pregnant women knew about GDM, had positive attitude, and had desirable GDM practice. The KAP regarding GDM was strongly correlated and significantly associated with sociodemographic variables. Facility-based interventions on KAP regarding GDM are paramount to be incorporated in the national health programs to improve knowledge and enhance attitude and GDM practices.
Managing uncertainty in forecasting health workforce demand using the Robust Workforce Planning Framework: the example of midwives in Belgium
In Belgium, the Planning Commission for Medical Supply is responsible for monitoring human resources for health (HRH) and ultimately proposing workforce quotas. It is supported by the Planning Unit for the Supply of the Health Professions. This Unit quantifies and forecasts the workforce in the healthcare professions on the basis of a stock and flow model, based on trends observed in the past. In 2019, the Planning Unit asked the KCE (Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre) to develop additional forecasting scenarios for the midwifery workforce, to complement the standard historical trend approach. The aim of this paper is to present the development of such forecasting scenarios.Methods
The Robust Workforce Planning Framework, developed by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence in the UK was used to develop alternative midwifery workforce scenarios. The framework consists of four steps (Horizon scanning, Scenario generation, Workforce modelling, and Policy analysis), the first two of which were undertaken by KCE, using two online surveys and five workshops with stakeholders.Results
Three alternative scenarios are proposed. The first scenario (close to the current situation) envisages pregnancy and maternity care centred on gynaecologists working either in a hospital or in private practice. The second scenario describes an organisation of midwife-led care in hospitals. In the third scenario, care is primarily organised by primary care practitioners (midwives and general practitioners) in outpatient settings.Conclusions
The Robust Workforce Planning Framework provides an opportunity to adjust the modelling of the health workforce and inform decision-makers about the impact of their future decisions on the health workforce.
Resilience of primary healthcare system across low- and middle-income countries during COVID-19 pandemic: a scoping review
Globally, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic tested the resilience of the health system and its shock-absorbing capacity to continue offering healthcare services. The available evidences does not provide comprehensive insight into primary health care (PHC) system functioning across low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) during the pandemic. Therefore, the objective of this scoping review was to generate evidence on the resilience of PHC systems in LMICs during the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods
A scoping review was carried out utilizing an iterative search strategy using the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the WHO COVID-19 electronic databases. Data from the identified studies in LMICs were charted in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) checklist in the first step. The analysis framework was adapted and modified using COVID-19 and health systems resilience framework developed by Sagan et al., Blanchet et al., and the WHO position paper on ‘Building health systems resilience for universal health coverage and health security during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’. A total of 26 documents were included on the basis of predefined eligibility criteria for our analysis.Results
Our review explored data from 44 LMICs that implemented strategies at the PHC level during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the LMICs developed national guidelines on sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (SRMNCAH). Most of the countries also transformed and reoriented PHC service delivery by introducing digital healthcare services to continue essential services. Task shifting, task sharing, and redeployment of retired staff were some frequently adopted health workforce strategies adopted by most of the countries. Only a few of the countries demonstrated the availability of necessary monetary resources to respond to the pandemic.Conclusions
The functionality of the PHC system during the COVID-19 pandemic was demonstrated by a variety of resilience strategies across the six building blocks of the health system. To strengthen PHC resilience, we recommend strengthening community-based PHC, cross-sectoral collaboration, establishing surveillance systems, capacity building in financial risk planning, and investing in strengthening the digital healthcare system.
Psychosocial status and risk perception among Iranian healthcare workers during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are essential resources, and their health and wellbeing are key not only for offering constant and useful care facilities to clients, but also for maintaining the safety of the workforce and patients. The risk of severe mental health problems among HCWs may have increased during large outbreaks of COVID-19. To evaluate the psychosocial status and risk perception of HCWs who participated in treating COVID-19 patients in Northern Iran, we performed a web-based cross-sectional study.Methods
The web-based cross-sectional design was applied between June 27 and September 2, 2021. Using convenience sampling, 637 HCWs were recruited from hospitals in Northern Iran (Mazandaran). The HCWs completed self-report questionnaires that included a sociodemographic information form, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire, Impact of the Event Scale-Revised, Risk Perception Questionnaire, and Anxiety Stress Scale‐21. The data were analyzed via descriptive and inferential statistics and univariate/multivariate logistic regression to assess the risk factors linked to each psychosocial consequence.Results
The results reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse psychosocial influence on HCWs, which was already apparent 1.5 years after the crisis began. Based on the results, 71.6%, 55.6%, and 32.3% of HCWs reported having anxiety, depression, and stress symptoms, respectively, since the outbreak of this disease. The logistic regression models displayed that marital status, having children, and working hours with patients were all risk factors of psychosocial impairment.Conclusions
The outbreak of COVID-19 can be considered an important experience of a bio-disaster resulting in a significant rate of psychiatric problems in HCWs. There is a need for designing and promoting supportive programs to help HCWs cope and to improve their psychosocial state, and the present study has detected for whom psychosocial support may be effective and practical 1.5 years after the primary outbreak. Moreover, detecting and managing concerns and reducing infection-related embarrassment/stigma are essential for improving HCWs’ mental health.
Self-reported continuing professional development needs of medical laboratory professionals in Ghana
Because of the essential nature of the work of medical laboratory professionals, continuing development in knowledge and skills is indispensable. The study aimed at identifying and prioritizing the development and training needs of medical laboratory professionals in Ghana. This is expected to help in developing focused continuing professional development (CPD) that meets the needs of practitioners as well as the changing medical trends.Methods
An online cross-sectional survey in February 2022 using a structured questionnaire was conducted. Respondents were asked questions that collected demographic and work-related data about them, their participation, preference, and challenges in being part of CPDs. Finally, a list of topics based on (i) quality management systems, (ii) technical competence, (iii) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching, (iv) pathophysiology, and (iv) data interpretation and research were asked with the option to rate them on a 3-point scale (most, moderate, and least) in order of importance.Results
A total of 316 medical laboratory professionals participated in the study. Overall, the most frequently selected topics for training based on domains for CPD training and ranking as most important were (i) quality management systems, (mean = 80.59 ± 9.024; 95% CI = 73.04–88.13); (ii) pathophysiology, data interpretation, and research (mean = 78.0 ± 6.973; 95% CI = 73.97–82.03); (iii) technical competence (mean = 73.97 ± 10.65; 95% CI = 66.35–81.59); and (iv) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching (mean = 72.82 ± 9.719; 95% CI = 67.44–78.2). The factors affecting the choice of training needs included the medical laboratory professionals’ current place of work, years in service, the reason for attending CPD activities, the period for attending the last CPD, being in a supervisory role, and the number of staff being supervised. Face-to-face presentations, training workshops, and hands-on workshops were the most preferred modes of CPD delivery with financial implications and workload/time constraints being the main challenges impeding CPD participation.Conclusion
The identified needs will help in developing CPD programs that address what medical laboratory professionals prioritize as training needs. Stakeholders should incorporate these training needs into future programs and address the challenges highlighted in this study to have more relevant training for medical laboratory professionals.
Are we ready for a sustainable approach? A qualitative study of the readiness of the public health system to provide STI services to the key populations at risk of HIV in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, sexually transmitted infection (STI) services are available for all populations in public health facilities. However, STI services for key populations (KPs) at risk of HIV need specifically designed approaches that are predominantly administered to KPs through donor-supported service centers operated by non-government organizations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs). However, the steady decline in donor funding warrants a sustainable transition of STI services for the KPs into public health facilities. This article aimed to explore the service availability and readiness of public health facilities to provide STI services for the KPs.Methods
This qualitative study explored the service availability and readiness of public health facilities in three districts of Bangladesh by adapting the Service Availability and Readiness Assessment tool. We conducted 34 in-depth interviews,11 focus group discussions with KPs, and 29 key-informant interviews with healthcare providers, researchers, programme implementers and policy planners, in addition to series of direct observations at the public healthcare facilities. Data were analysed through thematic analysis, and categorised in relation to the WHO building blocks.Results
This study revealed that the public health system was generally not ready to serve the KPs’ needs in terms of providing them with quality STI services. The ‘service delivery’ component, which is the most crucial facet of the public health system, was not ready to provide STI services to KPs. Findings also indicated that health workforce availability was limited in the primary and secondary healthcare layers but adequate in the tertiary layer, but needed to be oriented on providing culturally sensitised treatment. Counseling, an essential component of STI services, was neither ready nor available. However, health information systems and a few other components were partially ready, although this warrants systematic approaches to address these challenges.Conclusion
The findings show that public health facilities are yet to be fully ready to render STI services to KPs, especially in terms of service delivery and human and health resources. Therefore, it is not only integral to mobilize communities towards the uptake of public health services, but health systems need to be prepared to cater to their needs.
Research capacity, motivators and barriers to conducting research among healthcare providers in Tanzania’s public health system: a mixed methods study
Building health research capacity in low- and middle-income countries is essential to achieving universal access to safe, high-quality healthcare. It can enable healthcare workers to conduct locally relevant research and apply findings to strengthen their health delivery systems. However, lack of funding, experience, know-how, and weak research infrastructures hinders their ability. Understanding research capacity, engagement, and contextual factors that either promote or obstruct research efforts by healthcare workers can inform national strategies aimed at building research capacity.Methods
We used a convergent mixed-methods study design to understand research capacity and research engagement of healthcare workers in Tanzania’s public health system, including the barriers, motivators, and facilitators to conducting research. Our sample included 462 randomly selected healthcare workers from 45 facilities. We conducted surveys and interviews to capture data in five categories: (1) healthcare workers research capacity; (2) research engagement; (3) barriers, motivators, and facilitators; (4) interest in conducting research; and (5) institutional research capacity. We assessed quantitative and qualitative data using frequency and thematic analysis, respectively; we merged the data to identify recurring and unifying concepts.Results
Respondents reported low experience and confidence in quantitative (34% and 28.7%, respectively) and qualitative research methods (34.5% and 19.6%, respectively). Less than half (44%) of healthcare workers engaged in research. Engagement in research was positively associated with: working at a District Hospital or above (p = 0.006), having a university degree or more (p = 0.007), and previous research experience (p = 0.001); it was negatively associated with female sex (p = 0.033). Barriers to conducting research included lack of research funding, time, skills, opportunities to practice, and research infrastructure. Motivators and facilitators included a desire to address health problems, professional development, and local and international collaborations. Almost all healthcare workers (92%) indicated interest in building their research capacity.Conclusion
Individual and institutional research capacity and engagement among healthcare workers in Tanzania is low, despite high interest for capacity building. We propose a fourfold pathway for building research capacity in Tanzania through (1) high-quality research training and mentorship; (2) strengthening research infrastructure, funding, and coordination; (3) implementing policies and strategies that stimulate engagement; and (4) strengthening local and international collaborations.
Health practitioner regulation (HPR) systems are increasingly recognized as playing an important role in supporting health workforce availability, accessibility, quality, and sustainability, while promoting patient safety. This review aimed to identify evidence on the design, delivery and effectiveness of HPR to inform policy decisions.Methods
We conducted an integrative analysis of literature published between 2010 and 2021. Fourteen databases were systematically searched, with data extracted and synthesized based on a modified Donabedian framework.Findings
This large-scale review synthesized evidence from a range of academic (n = 410) and grey literature (n = 426) relevant to HPR. We identified key themes and findings for a series of HPR topics organized according to our structures–processes–outcomes conceptual framework. Governance reforms in HPR are shifting towards multi-profession regulators, enhanced accountability, and risk-based approaches; however, comparisons between HPR models were complicated by a lack of a standardized HPR typology. HPR can support government workforce strategies, despite persisting challenges in cross-border recognition of qualifications and portability of registration. Scope of practice reform adapted to modern health systems can improve access and quality. Alternatives to statutory registration for lower-risk health occupations can improve services and protect the public, while standardized evaluation frameworks can aid regulatory strengthening. Knowledge gaps remain around the outcomes and effectiveness of HPR processes, including continuing professional development models, national licensing examinations, accreditation of health practitioner education programs, mandatory reporting obligations, remediation programs, and statutory registration of traditional and complementary medicine practitioners.Conclusion
We identified key themes, issues, and evidence gaps valuable for governments, regulators, and health system leaders. We also identified evidence base limitations that warrant caution when interpreting and generalizing the results across jurisdictions and professions. Themes and findings reflect interests and concerns in high-income Anglophone countries where most literature originated. Most studies were descriptive, resulting in a low certainty of evidence. To inform regulatory design and reform, research funders and governments should prioritize evidence on regulatory outcomes, including innovative approaches we identified in our review. Additionally, a systematic approach is needed to track and evaluate the impact of regulatory interventions and innovations on achieving health workforce and health systems goals.
Medical interns in district health services: an evaluation of the new family medicine rotation in the Western Cape of South Africa
In 2021, South Africa introduced a 6-month internship rotation in family medicine, in the second year of a 2-year internship programme for newly qualified doctors. This was a major change from the previous 3-months training in family medicine, and expanded the training platform to smaller district hospitals and primary health care (PHC) facilities, many of which had never had interns. The medical disciplines in South Africa needed to know if this change in the internship programme was worthwhile and successful. The aim of this study was to assess the new family medicine rotation for medical interns at district health facilities in the Western Cape Province.Methods
Descriptive exploratory qualitative research included six intern programmes across the province. Purposeful sampling identified a heterogeneous group with maximum variation in experience. Overall, eight interns, four managers, four supervisors and four intern curators were included. Individual semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and the transcripts were thematically analysed using the framework method and Atlas-ti software.Results
Four major themes emerged around the varied structure and organisational characteristics of the rotations, the orientation and arrival of interns, their learning during the rotation, and impact on health services. A programme theory was developed that defined the key inputs (i.e. infrastructure, communication, orientation, preparation, prior learning and guidelines), processes (i.e. model of the rotation, clinical training and supervision, clinical teaching), outputs (i.e. more independent decision making, approach to undifferentiated problems, approach to chronic care and continuity, development of procedural skills, approach to sequential coordination of care and referrals, working in a multidisciplinary team and inter-professional learning, integration of multiple competencies, as well as becoming more person and community orientated).Conclusions
The new rotation in family medicine was positively experienced by most interns, supervisors and managers. It should lead to improved quality of care, better preparation for obligatory community service, and an increased likelihood of considering a career in district level health services. This study will form part of an exploratory sequential mixed methods study that incorporates the key issues into a questionnaire for a descriptive survey of all interns in a subsequent study.
Sociomaterial perspective as applied in interprofessional education and collaborative practice: a scoping review
Learning and working together towards better health outcomes today have become more complex requiring an investigation on how interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional collaboration (IPC) practices could be sustained and further developed. Through a sociomaterial perspective, we can better understand IPE and IPC practices by foregrounding the material aspect of learning and working together and examining its relationship with humans and their interactions. This article aimed to examine existing literature that discusses the application of sociomaterial perspectives in IPE and IPC. A scoping review was conducted following Arksey and O’Malley’s framework to explore the extent within the current body of knowledge that discuss how sociomaterial perspective is applied in IPE and IPC practices. A systematic database search was performed in September 2021 to retrieve literature published from 2007 onwards, with forty-three papers meeting the inclusion criteria. These papers included research articles, book chapters, conference papers and commentaries, with the majority originating from Europe. The thematic analysis revealed the following themes: (1) power as a sociomaterial entity shaping IPE and IPC; (2) inclusion of non-health professionals in reimagining IPE and IPC practices, and (3) the critical understanding of sociomateriality. The findings suggest that a sociomaterial perspective can allow for the reimagination of the contemporary and future practices of interprofessionalism.
Assessing the mediating role of motivation in the relationship between perceived management support and perceived job satisfaction among family doctors in Jiangsu province, China
The study aimed to examine the influence of perceived management support on job satisfaction through the mediating role of motivation among family doctors in the Jiangsu province of China.Methods
Six dimensions of motivation were employed as mediators in the association between perceived management support and job satisfaction in collecting data to analyze the hypothesized relationships in the present study. A total of 600 questionnaires were distributed to family doctors in Jiangsu province. Structural equation model (SEM) in the analysis of a moment structure (AMOS) version 26 software was used to estimate the path coefficients.Results
Perceived management support has a significant positive relationship with job satisfaction. Motivation had a fully mediated relationship with the association between perceived management support and job satisfaction.Conclusions
The study's findings suggest motivation is important in enhancing family doctors’ satisfaction and must not be underestimated. It, therefore, offers diverse recommendations for enhancing motivation among healthcare professionals.
Assessment of healthcare workers' knowledge and attitude on Ebola virus disease in Somalia: a multicenter nationwide survey
In September 2022, a new Ebola outbreak was reported in Uganda, East Africa, and 142 confirmed cases, including 19 Healthcare workers (HCWs) reported. Ebola is not endemic in Somalia, but the country is at a reasonable risk of the virus being introduced due to the direct connection with daily flights from Uganda without border health control and prevention activities. Therefore, evaluating HCWs' Knowledge and attitude is crucial since this is the first time being evaluated in Somalia. The study's objective is to evaluate the HCWs' Knowledge and attitude toward the Ebola virus disease in Somalia.Method
An online self-administrated cross-sectional survey was conducted among HCWs (n = 1103) in all six federal member states of Somalia using a validated, reliable, well-structured questionnaire. Data we analyzed using descriptive statistics and Logistic regression were used to determine sociodemographic characteristics associated with poor Knowledge and negative attitude.Result
Over one-third (37.3%) of HCWs had poor Knowledge; the mean knowledge score was 7.97 SD ± 2.15. Almost 40.1% of the HCWs had a negative attitude; the mean attitude was 27.81 SD ± 8.06. Low-income HCWs (AOR = 2.06, 95%CI:1.01–4.19), Married HCWs (AOR = 1.39, 95%CI: 1.110–1.963), Midwives (AOR = 2.76, 95%CI: 1.74–4.39), Lab technicians (AOR = 2.43, 95%CI: 1.43–4.14), HCWs work in Jubaland state of Somalia (AOR = 3.69, 95%CI: 2.39–5.70), Galmudug state (AOR = 8.50, 95%CI: 4.59–15.77), Hirshabelle state (AOR = 3.18, 95%CI: 2.15–4.71) were more likely to have poor Knowledge compared to their counterparts. HCWs who work in Hirshabelle state (AOR = 5.44,95%CI: 3.58–8.27), Jubaland state (AOR = 8.47, 95%CI: 4.69–15.29), and Galmudug state (AOR = 4.43, 95%CI: 3.03–6.48) was more likely to have a negative attitude than those working in the Banadir region administration.Conclusion
Most Somali healthcare workers showed good Knowledge and a positive attitude toward the Ebola virus. The implementation to enhance Knowledge and attitude must specifically focus on low-income HCWs, Midwives, Lab technicalities, and those who work in Hirshabelle, Jubaland, and Galmudug states of Somalia.
Successes and challenges towards improving quality of primary health care services: a scoping review.
Examining the absorption of post-internship medical officers into the public sector at county-level in devolved Kenya: a qualitative case study.
A novel approach to estimate the impact of health workforce investments on health outcomes through increased coverage of HIV, TB and malaria services.
Using the Socioecological Model to Explore Barriers to Health Care Provision in Underserved Communities in the Philippines: Qualitative Study.
Resident physician duty hours, resting times and European Working Time Directive compliance in Spain: a cross-sectional study
There is a growing interest in understanding the impact of duty hours and resting times on training outcomes and the well-being of resident physicians. However, to this date no state-wide analysis exists in any European country.Objectives
Our aim is to describe the shift work scheduling and to detail the degree of compliance with the Spanish legislation and the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) of Spanish resident physicians, focusing on territorial and specialty distribution.Material and methods
A descriptive cross-sectional analytical study was designed through an online survey adapted from the existing literature.Results
Out of the 2035 surveyed resident physicians undergoing PGT in Spain, 80.49% exceeded the 48 h per week limit set by the EWTD and 13% of them did not rest after a 24-h on-call shift. The mean number of on-call shifts in the last 3 months was 15.03, with the highest mean reported in Asturias, La Rioja, and Extremadura. 51.6% of respondents had a day-off after a Saturday on-call shift. Significant differences are observed by region and type of specialty.Conclusion
Resident physicians in Spain greatly exceed the established 48 h/week EWTD limit. Likewise, non-compliance with labor regulations regarding mandatory rest after on-call duty and minimum weekly rest periods are observed.