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The Oft-Overlooked Job Description

Kate SheahanThis post originally appeared on VITAL, the blog of IntraHealth International.

Job descriptions for health workers—it seems like a simple concept. And in fact, job descriptions can increase a community’s access to high-quality health care in low-resource settings.

But many health workers in low-income countries don’t have this basic tool.

For example, only 57% of health workers in Namibia and 38% of health workers in Kenya have job descriptions, according to data from Service Provision Assessments conducted by the countries’ ministries of health.

Research conducted in Kenya shows that health workers who have written job descriptions provide higher-quality care than those who do not. This may be because job descriptions provide structure, guidance, accountability lines, minimum skills and qualifications standards, and performance benchmarks. Read more »

Programmers Embrace International Standards for Zimbabwe’s Health Worker Registry

Carol BalesThis post originally appeared on IntraHealth International’s Tumblr.

These programmers see the light and embrace international standards for the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care’s new national health worker registry.

The registry is a database that will pull together a basic set of data on health workers from various information systems in the country.

Once the data are available, health leaders can use them to make all kinds of decisions that can improve the health of Zimbabweans—from influencing health workforce policy to improving the delivery of clinical services. Read more »

“I Made Some Changes”: A Nurse/Midwife’s Experience with Leadership and Management Training

Sarah DwyerThis post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series cohosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.

“Things were really a bit appalling.”

That’s what conditions at her rural health center felt like to Habiba Shaban Agong, a senior nursing officer and midwife in Uganda.

She says she loves her profession. “In midwifery I do a lot,” she adds proudly. “I help mothers in carrying out their pregnancies. During deliveries I help them to conduct live babies—to make a better future.” But it pained her that her facility wasn’t able to deliver the high quality of services the community deserved.

For starters, there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the demand. Each department had only “about one human resource working day and night,” Habiba says. “They get exhausted, and that can hinder service delivery.” Read more »

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