Health Professional School Leaders Are Critical in National Health Planning and Policies for Emerging Epidemics

Health professional school leaders must be seen as a vital health sector resource, and used accordingly.

Richard SeifmanThere have been over 4,000 known Ebola cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Senegal, resulting in 2,000 deaths. Of this number over 300 health workers have become sick and roughly half have died. There has been a significant immediate funding response from the international community including an initial $21 million investment in protective gear, chlorine bleach, and food aid, and deployment of CDC and USAID personnel, with additional USAID funding totaling $100 million. Further, there are commitments from the World Bank ($230 million) and the African Development Bank ($60 million).

These financial commitments are critical, but as Stephen Morrison of the Global Health Policy Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote recently, “On the ground, several thousand additional workers capable of implementing emergency disaster programs are needed, and will require protection and expedited training and deployment. These critical elements are needed urgently today, but where will they come from?” 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 »

Empowered Health Workers Improve Health Care, One Facility at a Time

This post originally appeared on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition blog.

“What inspires me is when I see patieAgnes Masagawayi with clientnts critically ill and then recovering, laughing, smiling—I feel great,” says Agnes Masagwayi, a senior clinical health officer in Mbale District, Uganda. “I love my job with all my heart.”

But her health facility, she admits, was in “a bad state.” Running water was sporadic. Essential drugs ran out. Space for maternity care was so limited that many women delivered babies on the floor. Infection control was poor. And there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the demand. Read more »

Improving Health Workforce Leadership and Management

To improve health services, Uganda is focusing on the people that provide quality care. In our new video, Ugandan health workers, managers, and leaders show how the country’s efforts are paying off—and how service delivery has improved. The following story highlights one aspect of this work.

Dr. WaniayeDr. John Baptist Waniaye was working as a medical officer when he realized he wanted to take on a new role. “I opted to go into management for health [because] I realized that there are gaps which when you’re a leader and a manager you can easily fix and make the environment very good for the health workers. And that is my drive—I want to see that health workers have what they need in order to offer their services and that our patients are happy.” Read more »

Empowering HR Staff in the Dominican Republic to Play an Active Role in Improving Health Services

Diana SantanaWhen I came to work at the Directorate of Health for Region V, I was very shy and afraid to express myself. I thought that my opinions, my ideas, my views, might not be well received.

But everything changed after the training I received from the CapacityPlus project that has taught me to grow as a person and as a professional.

The project has taught me to believe in myself—that I can do quality work, I can defend my views and negotiate with my superiors, the human resources manager and regional director of health, particularly about HR processes. When something is not right—that is, not according to laws and regulations—I have to point it out and be able to explain why. Read more »

El Proyecto me enseñó a comprender el rol del área de recursos humanos en la calidad de los servicios de salud

Diana SantanaCuando vine a trabajar a la Dirección Regional V de Salud, era muy tímida, tenía miedo de expresarme. Pensaba que tal vez mis opiniones, mis ideas, mis puntos de vista, no iban a ser bien recibidos.

Pero todo cambió a partir de la capacitación que recibí en el proyecto CapacityPlus, que me ha enseñado a crecer como persona y como profesional.

El proyecto me ha enseñado a creer en mí. En que sí puedo hacer mi trabajo con calidad, a defender mis puntos de vista y a negociar con mis superiores: la gerente de Recursos Humanos y el Director Regional de Salud, principalmente en lo concerniente a los procesos. Cuando algo no está correcto, es decir, apegado a las leyes y los reglamentos, tengo los argumentos para señalarlo. Read more »

Transforming a Thai Hospital through Pay for Performance

Paul MarsdenAboard a tour bus covered in enormous fuchsia flowers, we traveled through the Bangkok morning rush hour. This we knew: we were in for an eye-opening field trip as part of the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health.

Our destination that day was Chachoengsao Province—130 km (or 81 miles) from Bangkok— where we had the opportunity to see firsthand the transformation of the Phanom Sarakham Community Hospital and how it’s working toward establishing a pay for performance scheme.

Charismatic leadership
The hospital was previously considered one of the most run-down in Thailand, beset by persistently poor service quality and low staff morale. Read more »

What’s Really Holding Us Back? Resolving the Health Workforce Crisis

Maurice MiddlebergLately I’ve been thinking about the big picture in the global health workforce crisis. What’s keeping us from getting where we need to be?

On the one hand, we’ve come a long way in just a few years. Since the release of the 2006 World Health Report and the First Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in 2008, we’ve made notable progress:

  • Awareness of the health workforce crisis is now pervasive; this is reflected in high-level declarations of both developing and developed nations.
  • We’ve amassed a large body of knowledge and practical experience.
  • There is emerging consensus on the actions needed on a range of issues, from retention to community health workers to task-shifting.
  • Many countries have developed health workforce strategies.
  • A few countries (Ethiopia’s a great example) have made remarkable progress in expanding access to qualified health workers.

On the other hand, let’s face it: progress has been slow.

Access to health workers with the right skills is still denied to millions of people. We’re not yet where we need to be. What are the root causes of this unsatisfactory progress?

At the core is a failure of implementation. Read more »

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