Millennium Development Goals

Five Key Steps to Making the Health Workforce a Post-MDG Priority

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

Pape GayeThis is a pivotal year for the international development community.

Fourteen years ago, world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters and set eight major goals to reduce extreme poverty and improve lives around the world. Those Millennium Development Goals provided a shared blueprint that unified the global community and accelerated progress like never before. The deadline for the goals is 2015—just around the corner.

The big question now is this: What development goals will we set next? And how can we make even faster progress toward global health and well-being? Read more »

Update on the MDGs: Where Are the Health Workers?

Sarah DwyerThe UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 provides a fascinating snapshot of how far we’ve come in improving health outcomes—and how much further we need to go. Unfortunately, the report ignores the health workforce crisis in many of the countries struggling to meet their 2015 health goals. The MDGs cannot be achieved when large numbers of people lack access to a health worker, yet the persistent, severe shortage of health workers is paid scant attention in the recently released UN report.

A fundamental barrier to improving health is the health worker crisis. The report’s section on Goal 5 (Improve Maternal Health), for example, points out that far too many women are without access to a skilled birth attendant during delivery. While many regions have made progress, “coverage remains low in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, where the majority of maternal deaths occur.” Read more »

Beyond Vacancies: Improving Performance and Productivity to Strengthen Health Systems

Mesrak BelatchewTypically, a health workforce strengthening approach looks at the number of available health workers in comparison to the required number and then advises decision-makers on the need for health workforce development. Existing health workers are considered a given whereby adjustments are made in the form of additions to the system. This approach assumes that optimal health care delivery will be achieved when all the vacancies are filled.

However, these measures may not guarantee that staff turnover, performance, and/or productivity are adequately addressed. Read more »

Local Solutions, Global Solidarity, and Accountability

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Meshack NdoloWhile the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was full of opportunities, it was also quite deficient in addressing the one global issue that continues to hold back progress to achieving most of the health goals—the Millennium Development Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development. I do, however, remain optimistic.

In my country, Kenya, there is considerable awareness of the health workforce problem and there is momentum to act on many fronts. The Capacity Kenya project has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and others to develop a national Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan, which established national priorities for addressing Kenya’s workforce constraints. Read more »

To Bali and Back: Photo Blogging from the AAAH Conference

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Bali for CapacityPlus associate partner Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health’s (AAAH) fifth annual conference, “HRH Challenges for Achieving Millennium Development Goals.” Scroll through the photos and check out the descriptions below.

Photo 1
Traditional dancers at the opening ceremony.

Photo 2
The conference kicked off with side meetings on October 3rd—CapacityPlus coorganized both “Taking action on the WHO’s recommendations for rural retention” and “Implementing the HRH Action Framework (HAF) within the Country Coordination and Facilitation (CCF) process.”

Photo 3
In the side session “Taking action on the WHO’s recommendations for rural retention”, CapacityPlus's Wanda Jaskiewicz showcased the project’s cutting-edge work in developing a discrete choice experiment-based toolkit for rapid retention assessments. Read more »

Deploying an Integrated Human Resources for Health Approach to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Sara Pacque-MargolisThe global health workforce crisis demands a strategic investment in a long-term solution. Given the limited human resources for health (HRH) available in many countries, an integrated, systems-based approach is necessary if countries are to achieve all the health-related Millennium Development Goals.

The Center for Global Development’s (CGD’s) recent report argues that donors must evolve from the emergency approach required to scale up vertical HIV/AIDS programs to a more sustainable approach that plans for, develops, deploys, and retains a health workforce responsive to the population as a whole.

A call to donors
Based on research conducted in Mozambique, Uganda, and Zambia, the CGD report examined how AIDS programs leveraged health workers, their financial and programmatic inputs into health worker training and deployment, and the effects of these actions on health services. Read more »

Linking the Millennium Development Goals with Human Resources for Health

Wilma GormleyAfter being escorted past more security guards than I’ve encountered in my entire life, I arrived in a conference room in the United Nations building overlooking the East River in New York City eager to hear luminaries discuss the critical link between human resources for health (HRH) and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

I took the train from Washington, DC to NYC early this morning and watched the birth of a sunny, early fall day. I “immigrated” to NYC from Kansas after graduate school, and I still love its positive energy.

Progress in human resources for health
No Health Workforce. No Health MDGs. Is that acceptable? was a side event held at the MDG Summit this week, sponsored by the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) along with the governments of Norway, Brazil, and Cameroon, and the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative. President of Malawi Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika delivered the keynote address, and Dr. Mubashar Sheikh from GHWA delivered the opening and closing remarks. The panelists included ministers of health from Cameroon, Malawi, Norway, and Brazil; a DFID representative; and a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) vice president. Read more »

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