Building Local Capacity to Meet Local Needs
Worldwide health priorities, such as ending the HIV epidemic and reducing maternal and newborn deaths and deaths from malaria, require not only hiring more health workers, but also training them to meet their country’s health needs. In 2017, we educated more than 275,200 health care workers—creating a lifeline for communities and bringing much-needed care to women and families.
How We Make an Impact
All countries’ health care needs differ. To determine the health needs of our partner countries, Jhpiego works to identify issues and gaps in workforce education and practice. This process—called task analysis—compares the knowledge and skills required to perform an activity with a health care worker’s training, confidence and competence in conducting it. Jhpiego has used task analysis to target health worker training to community needs in countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Myanmar and Zambia.
A trained, knowledgeable and prepared workforce is crucial to delivering quality health care to where it is needed. Throughout its history, Jhpiego has supported the local health workforce in its partner countries to provide integrated, client-centered and high-quality health services. Our pre-service education efforts apply a health systems strengthening approach to ensure a fit-for-purpose health workforce. In-service education efforts apply evidence-based and innovative approaches, such as mobile apps, eLearning and simulation-based learning to build capacity of health care workers without taking them from the people they serve.
Jhpiego addresses gender inequity throughout the health workforce life cycle. Beginning in pre-service education, we address gender issues to reduce female student attrition and provide transformative leadership training for academic administrators and leadership. For practicing health workers, we recognize women make up 70% of the global health workforce but hold only 25% of senior roles. We address discrimination and harassment in the workplace, providing gender-transformative leadership training and policy change in the countries where we work.
To be effective, a health workforce needs more than training and motivation; it needs systems to ensure that health workers are deployed where they are most needed. Health resource information systems are essential for rational deployment, to track and retain the health workforce and determine training and professional development needs. Jhpiego works with human resources management staff and ministries of health to develop and strengthen such systems and use the data for decision-making.
Health professions regulation, which includes professional licensure, certification, educational accreditation and continued professional development, is a sustainable strategy to ensure the quality of the health workforce and protecting the public. Jhpiego has strengthened the health professions regulatory systems in countries such as Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Lesotho, Liberia and Tanzania.
Through the Strengthening Human Resources for Health Project (2012–2019), Jhpiego and its partners supported the Government of Ethiopia to increase the number of skilled health workers, human resource managers and practices, and to improve the quality of health services for all Ethiopians, with an emphasis on reducing infectious disease and maternal and newborn mortality. This project engaged local universities and partners and included a robust focus on gender issues and equity.
With assistance from the Jhpiego-led Strengthening Human Resources for Health Project, Human Resources Officer Tesfaye Dadi and his team at Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional Health Bureau created a smarter workspace, allowing them to respond to health workers’ needs so that they, in turn, could better serve their clients.
In Mozambique, MCSP helped to develop comprehensive malaria performance standards and train 113 health care workers to provide high-quality services. By the end of the second year of implementation, nine of 20 facilities had improved their standards scores by at least 50%, and almost 100% of children under 5 with fever had been tested for malaria in MCSP-supported areas.
With training provided by MCSP, Nurse Zelinha João and more than 1,000 other health care workers in 58 facilities in Zambezia province, Mozambique, now have the skills to diagnose and treat even severe cases of malaria.
Saving Lives through Safe Surgery, Ethiopia’s first-ever national surgical plan funded through Safe Surgery 2020, aims to strengthen performance across surgical practice by building leadership capacity of the entire surgical staff—from nurses and anesthetists to surgeons and hospital management. With support from the Government of Ethiopia, similar efforts to reduce surgery-related deaths are underway in 10 hospitals across the country.
Through this project, Berihun Adhane, an emergency surgical officer at Alamata Hospital in rural Ethiopia, helped to devise and deploy a plan to build leadership capacity of the hospital’s entire surgical staff and thus improve performance. The result: 33% fewer surgery-related deaths in the first 6 months. Visit website
This comprehensive review of the literature by Jhpiego technical experts found that health care systems are increasingly using mentorship, on-the-job training and eLearning to improve health worker skills. The literature review and subsequent trials in Ghana and Uganda identified a simulation- and team-based training in the workplace, followed by repeated, short bursts of practice and feedback as effective in improving maternal and newborn outcomes.
This literature review sought to analyze factors contributing to quality pre-service education and created a conceptual model that shows links between essential elements of quality pre-service education and desired outcomes. The article summarizes evidence for each factor, which informs Jhpiego’s comprehensive approach to strengthening the pre-service education system.
This page on the Jhpiego website includes links to hundreds of publications by Jhpiego technical experts, including journal articles, toolkits and training packages.
This World Health Organization infographic outlines how health workers can help to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The GHWN is a World Health Organization mechanism to move forward its health workforce agenda toward universal health coverage and achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Breaking Tradition: A New Learning Approach to Save Lives
This Jhpiego-produced video highlights the use of a low-dose, high-frequency (LDHF) learning approach to update the skills of nurses and midwives in Ghana through a partnership with the Ministry of Health. Use of the LDHF approach resulted in a 50% reduction in intrapartum stillbirths and a 56% reduction in day-of-birth newborn deaths.
Other videos of interest …
This World Health Organization highlights the importance of health workers not only to the people they serve but also to economies worldwide. It advocates for solutions to the global shortage of health workers.
This animated video by the Global Health Workforce Network imagines a community without health workers—and an another in which health workers are seen as a valuable investment.