Jhpiego Helps Build the Number of Health Care Providers and Strengthen Skills and Performance
Human resources in the health system—health care providers, managers and support personnel—are a country’s intellectual capital. They are crucial to its economic and social well-being, particularly today as the health industry has become more complex and knowledge-based.
In many developing countries, health care workers operate every day in an extremely challenging environment in which scarce resources and systemic constraints and bottlenecks make it difficult for their employers to provide basic equipment and drugs, adequate salaries, and support for maintaining their skills and motivation.
In addition to the many managerial and budgetary constraints affecting human resources, HIV/AIDS is exacerbating already stretched human resource systems. The health workforce is as vulnerable to the effects of the epidemic as the general population. According to a USAID report, “…anecdotal evidence in Africa suggests that ministries of health, agriculture and education may lose one-fifth of their employees to HIV/AIDS over the next several years.” Absenteeism from illness, caring for loved ones or funeral attendance, reduced productivity and a demoralized workforce further increase the financial burden of the disease on the health system.
Several countries worldwide are trying to address and solve the serious issues of human capacity development (HCD) within the context of health sector reform. This reform, which typically consists of a process of decentralization, expansion of primary and basic care, and increased involvement of the community, usually creates additional challenges to the workforce.
Jhpiego Steps In
The many and complex challenges to HCD can be overcome only by using a strategic and systemic approach. Based on decades of experience working with human resources, Jhpiego has developed a comprehensive framework to guide the process of workforce development. This framework incorporates key interconnected programmatic and managerial components operating within the context of the external national and health sector environment. This framework includes:
- Planning for human resources in health that is realistic in the context of the country
- Production of human resources with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide high-quality health care
- Deployment of these human resources where they are needed
- Performance management and support to ensure that these human resources perform effectively
- Regulation and quality assurance mechanisms to ensure safe and effective care
- Human resources administration to support a sound management of the health workforce
- Monitoring and evaluation of outputs and outcomes
Jhpiego provides technical assistance to national and local governments and private and nongovernmental organizations to develop their workforce in-country. Technical assistance includes assessment, design, capacity building, implementation and evaluation in:
- Education of new health care providers
- Distribution, placement and orientation of these providers
- Inservice training and support to ensure consistent, effective performance
- Support for licensing, certification and accreditation of health care providers, health facilities and health education institutions
Jhpiego’s clear processes and practical tools are helping several countries to develop and implement HCD models that can be more easily institutionalized and scaled up.