Human Resources

WHO global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel
World Health Organization: 21 May 2010

This resolution of the 63rd World Health Assembly outlines a set of standards for the international recruitment of health personnel. The code of practice aims to establish and promote voluntary principles and practices for the ethical international recruitment of health personnel. It provides member states with ethical principles for international health worker recruitment that strengthen the health systems of developing countries. It discourages states from actively recruiting health personnel from developing countries that face critical shortages of health workers, and encourages them to facilitate the 'circular migration of health personnel' to maximise skills and knowledge sharing. It enshrines equal rights of both migrant and non-migrant health workers. The code sets the provisions for member states to monitor and report on the implementation of the code, for reporting back to the Assembly in 2012.

WHO to create international human resources database on health care

One in three countries in Africa and South East Asia has only one medical school for every 10 million people or more, a rate poorer than anywhere in Europe or the Americas, says a new report by researchers from the World Health Organisation. Nine out of 10 countries in the same two regions have fewer than 50 doctors per 100000 inhabitants, and about half of the countries have a similar density of nurses and midwives. The report outlines a series of major new WHO initiatives, which aim to provide better information to allow more meaningful international comparisons. "Despite the undoubted importance of human resources to the functions of health systems, there is little consistency between countries in how human resource strategies are monitored and evaluated," say the authors, from WHO's department of health service provision. "In many countries there is no regular recording of the numbers and activities of all health personnel, and some emphasize only the public sector or can have variable accuracy for rural areas."

Who wants to work in a rural health post? The role of intrinsic motivation, rural background and faith-based institutions in Ethiopia and Rwanda
Serneels P, Montalvo JG, Pettersson G, Lievens T, Buterae JD and Kidanuf A: Bulletin of the World Health Organization 88: 342–349, May 2010

The objective of this paper was to understand the factors influencing health workers’ choice to work in rural areas as a basis for designing policies to redress geographic imbalances in health worker distribution. Data from a cohort survey of 412 nursing and medical students in Rwanda was used to examine the determinants of future health workers’ willingness to work in rural areas as measured by rural reservation wages. The data was combined with data from an identical survey in Ethiopia to enable a two-country analysis. The research found that health workers with higher intrinsic motivation – measured as the importance attached to helping the poor – as well as those who had grown up in a rural area and Adventists who had participated in a local bonding scheme were all significantly more willing to work in a rural area. The main result for intrinsic motivation in Rwanda was strikingly similar to the result obtained for Ethiopia and Rwanda combined. In conclusion, intrinsic motivation and rural origin play an important role in health workers’ decisions to work in a rural area, in addition to economic incentives, while faith-based institutions can also influence the decision.

WHO's 2006 World health report a disappointment
Lancet: Samarasekera, U

While the World Health Organization's focus on human resources for health in its 2006 World Health Report (WHR) is welcome, the lack of detailed data in the report is disappointing, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet. The author explains how ".....[it] shows just how much of a gap exists between current knowledge and what is necessary to inform policymaking."

WHO/WFME strategic partnership to improve medical education
World Health Organisation

WHO and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) propose a strategic partnership to pursue a long-term work plan - open to participation by all medical schools and other educational providers - intended to have a decisive impact on medical education in particular and ultimately on health professions education in general. The WHO/WFME work plan will benefit from the accumulated experience and assets of each partner.

Wising Up to the Business Implications of HIV/Aids

South African companies are missing out on lucrative returns by failing to see that money spent on HIV/Aids is an investment, rather than a cost, according to a new study into major Southern African companies.

Wits launches Centre for Rural Health
Magamdela P: Health-e News: 28 August 2009

Health care in South Africa’s rural areas is set to get a major boost, following the launch of the Centre for Rural Health by Wits University, in Johannesburg, recently. The centre’s inaugural Director, Prof Ian Couper, said the centre’s main focus is to ‘recruit human resources for rural health. We can do everything in terms of providing facilities, we can make sure the drug supplies are there, but unless we have the health workers, all of that will mean nothing. The centre is trying to focus on multiple strategies: selecting students in rural areas and supporting them to study health sciences, developing post graduate programmes, researching issues around how we can improve resources for rural health and advocacy to bring these issues to the attention of policy makers, politicians and other stake-holders.’ Deputy Health Minister, Dr Molefi Sefularo, expressed gratitude to the university for highlighting issues relating to rural health. ‘We would like you to become a leading academic centre in the field of human resources for rural health’, he said.

Women on the move: migration, care work and health
World Health Organisation: WHO, Geneva, 2017

Care workers - who are largely migrant women, often working in informal home settings - make a considerable contribution to public health in many countries but are themselves exposed to health risks, face barriers to accessing care, and enjoy few labour and social protections. This WHO report, and its reflection on potential next steps, aims to foster debate about approaches to ensure that the global community meets its obligations in relation to these care workers. The report focuses on paid home-based care workers who attend to the varied needs of children, older people, people with disabilities and the disabled and ill people.It notes that a significant knowledge gap exists when it comes to how migrant care workers’ health is influenced – both positively and negatively – by the labour they perform and the contexts in which they undertake this work. The report highlights three key steps for all countries and regions to consider to improve the health and well-being of migrant care workers and their families:1. To generate evidence on the nature of migrant care work, the contributions to global health care and the terms and conditions of their employment. 2. To improve access to health services through specific measures to address non-discrimination, promote inclusion and participation of migrant care workers. 3. Promote and recognize care as a global public good that contributes to global health and well-being. The authors advocate for holistic, universal and person-centred health and social care systems.

Workers Without Health Insurance:
Who Are They and How Can Policy Reach Them?

Urban Institute - August, 2001, Washington, D.C., USA.
A new Urban Institute report on workers without health insurance suggests that the most efficient way to increase coverage is to target subsidies toward low-income workers. The report offers the most detailed picture yet of the uninsured working population—now numbering more than 16 million—and compares the relative merits of two key vehicles for expanding coverage: tax credits or public programs. Researchers Bowen Garrett, Len Nichols and Emily Greenman, characterizes today’s uninsured and examines the policy implications. The report, based on analyses of 1999 Current Population Survey data and a survey of the literature on the working uninsured, was developed for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of its Community Voices: HealthCare for the Underserved initiative series.

Working with community health workers to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes: implementation and scale-up lessons from eastern Uganda
Namazzi G; Okuga M; Tetui M; et al.: Global Health Action 10(S4)72-81, 2017

This paper explores knowledge levels of community health workers (CHWs), describes the coverage of home visits, and shares lessons learnt from setting up and implementing the CHW strategy in eastern Uganda. The CHWs were trained to conduct four home visits: two during pregnancy and two after delivery. The visits aimed to promote birth preparedness and utilization of maternal and newborn health (MNH) services. CHWs’ knowledge of MNH improved after training. However, knowledge of new born danger signs declined after a year. The level of coverage of at least one CHW visit to pregnant and newly delivered mothers was 57% and CHW reports complemented the facility-based health information. CHWs formed associations, which improved teamwork, reporting, and general performance, and maintained low dropout rates at 3.6%. Their challenges included dissatisfaction with the quarterly transport refund of 6 USD and lack of a means of transport, such as bicycles.