IHP news 503: Human Resources for Health

By on January 4, 2019

HP&P – Community health volunteers could help improve access to and use of essential health services by communities in LMICs: an umbrella review

M Woldie et al; https://academic.oup.com/heapol/advance-article/doi/10.1093/heapol/czy094/5259361

A number of primary studies and systematic reviews focused on the contribution of community health workers (CHWs) in the delivery of essential health services. In many countries, a cadre of informal health workers also provide services on a volunteer basis [community health volunteers (CHV)], but there has been no synthesis of studies investigating their role and potential contribution across a range of health conditions; most existing studies are narrowly focused on a single condition. As this cadre grows in importance, there is a need to examine the evidence on whether and how CHVs can improve access to and use of essential health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We report an umbrella review of systematic reviews… …  Most concluded that services provided by CHVs were not inferior to those provided by other health workers, and sometimes better. However, CHVs performed less well in more complex tasks such as diagnosis and counselling. Their performance could be strengthened by regular supportive supervision, in-service training and adequate logistical support, as well as a high level of community ownership. The use of CHVs in the delivery of selected health services for population groups with limited access, particularly in LMICs, appears promising. However, success requires careful implementation, strong policy backing and continual support by their managers.”

IJHPM – Reflections on Health Workforce Development; Comment on “Health Professional Training and Capacity Strengthening Through International Academic Partnerships: The First Five Years of the Human Resources for Health Program in Rwanda”

Gilles Dussault; http://www.ijhpm.com/article_3583.html

This commentary addresses the statement that “the authors believe that the HRH [Human Resources for Health] Program can serve as a model for other initiatives that seek to address the shortage of qualified health professionals in low-income countries and strengthen the long-term capacity of local academic institutions.” I adopt the position of the devil’s advocate and ask whether a country, with a profile comparable to Rwanda’s, should adopt this twinning model. I suggest that the alignment with population and other capacity development needs should be the main criteria of decision.”

And a quick link:

GuardianFears of Zimbabwe health crisis as row over doctors’ pay continues

A month-long impasse between government and doctors over pay and conditions has left Zimbabwe’s health care system in a critical state, after the government suspended more than 500 medical staff last week. The government refuses to give in to the doctors’ demands and has ordered striking doctors to return to their posts….”

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