In recent years, heightened attention has been given to scaling up the production of health workers in response to the global human resources for health (HRH) crisis. While many countries face absolute health worker shortages and must increase their availability, the HRH crisis is not just a supply problem. The equally critical need to ensure that health workers are equitably distributed—especially to rural and other underserved areas—are motivated and remain working at their posts, and effectively provide health services, has caused recruitment, retention, and productivity to emerge as key elements in HRH systems strengthening to increase access to quality family planning/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and other primary health services. To attract and retain health workers in rural and underserved areas, countries must develop strategies that adequately address the interconnected economic, professional, individual, and social factors that influence health worker behavior and guide their employment decisions. Furthermore, as countries implement medium- and long-term workforce expansion strategies, they can maximize health system performance in the meantime through more efficient service delivery and improved productivity and performance of currently available health staff. How effectively the health workforce performs and uses other health systems inputs will contribute to improving health systems performance and, consequently, health outcomes.
To aid national HRH stakeholders in these key areas, CapacityPlus, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and World Bank, developed and disseminated a catalog of evidence-based approaches, tools, and other resources that provide HRH stakeholders with the capacity to develop effective retention and productivity strategies for the health workforce.
- Supporting Country-Led Efforts to Recruit and Retain Health Workers and Improve Productivity (legacy brief)