This compendium provides a list of published indicators on human resources for health (HRH) organized according to the results framework of the CapacityPlus project. The objective of this compendium is to provide a tool for HRH systems strengthening practitioners interested in monitoring HRH projects and programs.

In order to provide a valuable set of measurement tools, indicators from multiple sources were evaluated based on the widely-referenced criteria for data quality: accuracy, reliability, completeness, precision, timeliness, and integrity1. Each indicator relates to a specific desired output or outcome, can be quantified, is associated with an overall program result of the CapacityPlus project, can be realistically achieved with appropriate resources and support, and can be measured over a designated period of time. While far more extensive lists of indicators are available, many of these indicators in some of these lists do not meet these criteria and consequently compromise their usefulness for monitoring HRH results.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)'s "Handbook for measurement and monitoring: Indicators of the regional goals for human resources for health. A shared commitment" and the World Health Organization (WHO)'s "Handbook on monitoring and evaluation of human resources for health" served as the primary resources for this compendium due to the level of detail and thoroughness provided by these sources. The PAHO and WHO indicators were supplemented with additional indicators specific to the CapacityPlus result areas. While many indicators were drawn from sources related specifically to the monitoring of HRH, some indicators were also drawn from non-HRH-specific sources, as appropriate.

Data source limitations

Many indicators require data sources that are currently not available in countries where HRH investments are being made. Examples include indicators based on data derived from population or facility surveys or functioning human resources information systems (HRIS). Lack of access to high-quality data represents a major barrier to the monitoring and evaluation of a wide range of health systems strengthening outputs and outcomes. Despite these limitations, this compendium is offered as a user-friendly and practical resource for HRH practitioners to select high-quality indicators that provide valid measurement of results directly related to their HRH investments.

Thematic gaps

While measurements such as worker productivity and retention are more readily quantified, measurements pertaining to management and partnership remain difficult to define. As a result, indicators for global leadership, HRH policy and planning, and to some extent workforce development are less available than indicators for performance support. Indicators are particularly lacking for the following CapacityPlus result areas: human resources policy, human resources management systems, and continuing professional development (CPD).

Document structure

This document contains an indicator compendium table followed by two appendices. The indicator compendium table provides the name, description, method of calculation, and source for each indicator organized according to the CapacityPlus results framework. Appendix A provides information on the documents from which the indicators are drawn. The compendium may be used to obtain further information on data sources or measurement limitations, and Appendix B provides additional tools that accompanied indicators in their original documents.


[1] MEASURE Evaluation. 2007. Data quality assurance tool for program-level indicators.