Task Shifting

A Student’s View: Task Shifting Holds Potential for Addressing Health Worker Shortages and Expanding Access to Health Care

Obinna OkekeThe concept of task shifting is not a new one. In 19th century France, officiers de santé were an officially recognized and commonly-used class of non-physician health workers, while in China, so-called barefoot doctors were widely deployed across the country in the mid-20th century. And in Africa, non-physician clinicians have long been trained across the continent to fill various roles. Succinctly put, task shifting is a process of delegating tasks from higher-level health workers to less specialized health workers with shorter training and fewer qualifications. Read more »

Task Sharing, Not Task Shifting: Team Approach Is Best Bet for HIV Care

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

By developing a more rational division of labor among HIV/AIDS health workers in developing countries, we can go a long way in “Overcoming the Last Barrier to Universal Access,” and nurses have a significant role to play in that effort.

That was the ambitious premise and title of a presentation by Dr. Kate Tulenko, senior director for health systems innovation for IntraHealth International (and CapacityPlus deputy director for clinical services and service delivery strengthening), at a satellite session I attended at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Read more »

Top Ten Myths about the Global Health Workforce Crisis Busted

Kate TulenkoMyth #1: It's mainly a numbers problem

Actually the main problem is maldistribution of health workers: rural/urban, primary care/specialty.

Myth #2: Health worker migration has no victims

Migration not only deprives the poorest countries of the health workers who migrate, but since the most qualified workers are the ones who migrate, it impairs countries’ ability to train replacements. A high percentage of the global health diaspora were professors in their home countries.

Myth #3: Developing-country health workers aren’t paid enough

Health workers are consistently in the top wage earners in their countries and have little or no student loan burden. Their standard of living, although not the same as Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development physicians, is extremely high compared to their fellow citizens. Read more »

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