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The Human Capacity Challenge Print E-mail

In many developing countries, health systems face daunting challenges to meet even basic health care needs. These challenges include:

  1. Inaccurate or incomplete data about the health workforce, which hampers decision-making
  2. Inadequate numbers of qualified health workers
  3. Mismatches between needed health worker skills and available skills
  4. Retention problems, including out-migration of trained providers and shifts between sectors
  5. Slow and ineffective recruitment, hiring and deployment processes
  6. Lack of supportive human resources policies
  7. Weak planning and management systems for the health workforce
  8. Poor use of available financial and material resources.

A comprehensive and coordinated response to these challenges is vital—without immediate attention, the increasing pressures on national health systems could lead to their contraction or collapse, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV/AIDS has had the most severe effects on the health workforce.

The Capacity Project worked to strengthen human resources to implement quality health programming in developing countries, focusing on:

  1. Improving workforce planning and leadership to ensure that the right type and number of health workers are deployed to the right locations
  2. Developing better education and training programs so that health workers have the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of their communities
  3. Strengthening systems to support workforce performance and encourage workers to remain on the job.

Highlights of the Capacity Project’s Results as of September 30, 2009

Planning, Developing and Supporting the Health Workforce: Results and Lessons Learned from the Capacity Project, 2004-2009 (Final Report)

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