Human Resources for Health

Human resources for health (HRH) is a term used to denote any person engaged directly or indirectly in health actions. HRH include healthcare providers, doctors, midwives, nurses and community health workers as well as support staff such as logisticians, health managers and many other professions. HRH play a critical role in building functional health systems to ensure that people have universal access to quality care.

The world has been faced with an acute and worsening HRH crisis since 2006 in 57 developing nations, including 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases is significant.

One of the defining characteristics of this crisis is the absence of a strategy dedicated to training and retaining qualified health workers. This has resulted in shortfalls in skilled personnel (and their uneven geographical distribution); insufficient production capacity; a lack of training institutes, with an adverse effect on recruitment; poor management and planning of health personnel; and a low level of information for evidence-based decision-making. Several factors account for this situation, in spite of the efforts made by the relevant countries: poor mobilization of financial resources due to inadequate advocacy in some cases; a mismatch between requirements and training; and a health workforce lacking in motivation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) made a number of commitments to address these problems at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (hosted by the Brazilian government in 2013), alongside health agencies, partners, donors and representatives of participating states. Against this background, Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) and Save the Children joined forces to create the HRH advocacy project known as ADAMA (Advocating for Available Skilled Manpower in Africa), which is funded by reinvesting 20% of the profits from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).