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Investing in Human Resources for Health

Many countries, particularly those afflicted by conflict and instability, face critical challenges concerning human resources in the health sector. This includes a shortage of health workers, geographic maldistribution, and performance issues.

“In Western Africa, for instance, we have found that most health workers are concentrated in urban areas, and there are very few in rural areas. This is due to issues like lack of proper housing, potable water, and quality schooling for their children,” says Noor Tromp, KIT’s Advisor on Human Resources for Health (HRH) projects.

The attention on HRH has increased in the last year, as its critical role became clear in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given KIT’s expertise and experience, we have partnered with several organisations to improve HRH.

In the last year alone, we embarked on three new projects. Firstly, we are supporting the government of Libya to strengthen its health workforce. We are developing knowledge products like a paper on HRH challenges in fragile states and a tool to analyse workforce governance for the Libyan Government. Once the political unrest abates, we intend to provide technical support to elaborate a strategy on HRH. This project is funded by the World Bank.

Secondly, we are providing advice to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on how their technical cooperation in HRH could contribute more effectively to improving access to and the quality of HRH. And how this could be aligned with future health needs and integrated into the health systems as part of their goal to achieve universal health coverage.

The last of the three is the Global Fund Strategic Initiative for Human Resources in Health. Within this three-year project, we provide technical assistance to Ministries of Health in Nigeria, Chad, Mali, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to improve health worker planning. The goal is to ensure that the right type of health worker is in the right place.

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