In Japan, a shortage of physicians, who serve a key role in healthcare provision, has been pointed out as a major medical issue. The healthcare workforce policy planner should consider future dynamic changes in physician numbers. The purpose of this study was to propose a physician supply forecasting methodology by applying system dynamics modeling to estimate future absolute and relative numbers of physicians.
We constructed a forecasting model using a system dynamics approach. Forecasting the number of physician was performed for all clinical physician and OB/GYN specialists. Moreover, we conducted evaluation of sufficiency for the number of physicians and sensitivity analysis.
Result & conclusion
As a result, it was forecast that the number of physicians would increase during 2008–2030 and the shortage would resolve at 2026 for all clinical physicians. However, the shortage would not resolve for the period covered. This suggests a need for measures for reconsidering the allocation system of new entry physicians to resolve maldistribution between medical departments, in addition, for increasing the overall number of clinical physicians.
Forecasting the number of physicians; Shortage of physician; Maldistribution; System dynamics
A shortage of health professionals in rural areas is a major problem facing China, as more than 60% of the population lives in such areas. Strategies have been developed by the government to improve the recruitment of rural doctors. However, the inequitable distribution of doctors working in China has not improved significantly. The objective of this study was to explore the reasons for the poor recruitment and to propose possible strategies to improve the situation.
Between September 2009 and November 2009 data were collected from 2778 rural doctors in Beijing, China. A quantitative survey was used to explore health workers’ perceptions as to what factors would have the greatest impact on recruitment and whether access to training had been effective in increasing their confidence, enhancing their interest in practicing medicine and increasing their commitment to recruitment.
Rural doctors were generally older than average in China. Of the 2778 participants, only 7.23% had obtained a license as a qualified doctor. For 53% of the rural doctors, the job was part-time work. The survey showed that rural doctors considered the training strategy to be inadequate. In general, the initiatives identified by rural doctors as being of most value in the recruitment of doctors were those targeting retirement pension and income.
From the perspective of rural doctors, specific initiatives that promised a secure retirement pension and an increased income were considered most likely to assist in the recruitment of rural doctors in Beijing.
Rural doctor; Recruitment; Human resources
Ethiopia is one of the sub-Saharan countries most affected by high disease burden, aggravated by a shortage and imbalance of human resources, geographical distance, and socioeconomic factors. In 2004, the government introduced the Health Extension Program (HEP), a primary care delivery strategy, to address the challenges and achieve the World Health Organization Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within a context of limited resources.
The health system was reformed to create a platform for integration and institutionalization of the HEP with appropriate human capacity, infrastructure, and management structures. Human resources were developed through training of female health workers recruited from their prospective villages, designed to limit the high staff turnover and address gender, social and cultural factors in order to provide services acceptable to each community. The service delivery modalities include household, community and health facility care. Thus, the most basic health post infrastructure, designed to rapidly and cost-effectively scale up HEP, was built in each village. In line with the country’s decentralized management system, the HEP service delivery is under the jurisdiction of the district authorities.
Discussion and evaluation
The nationwide implementation of HEP progressed in line with its target goals. In all, 40 training institutions were established, and over 30,000 Health Extension Workers have been trained and deployed to approximately 15,000 villages. The potential health service coverage reached 92.1% in 2011, up from 64% in 2004. While most health indicators have improved, performance in skilled delivery and postnatal care has not been satisfactory. While HEP is considered the most important institutional framework for achieving the health MDGs in Ethiopia, quality of service, utilization rate, access and referral linkage to emergency obstetric care, management, and evaluation of the program are the key challenges that need immediate attention.
This article describes the strategies, human resource developments, service delivery modalities, progress in service coverage, and the challenges in the implementation of the HEP. The Ethiopian approach of revitalization of primary care through innovative, locally appropriate and acceptable strategies will provide important lessons to other poorly resourced countries. It is hoped that the approaches and strategies described in this paper will aid in that process.
Health extension program; Health extension workers; Human resource; Infrastructure; Decentralized management; Primary care; Preventive and promotive health services; Service delivery strategy; Ethiopia
Effective implementation and sustainability of quality laboratory programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa relies on the development of appropriate staff retention strategies. Assessing the factors responsible for job satisfaction and retention is key for tailoring specific interventions aiming at improving the overall impact of health programmes. A survey was developed to assess these factors among 224 laboratorians working in the laboratory programme the University of Maryland implemented in seven Sub-Saharan African countries. Lack of professional development was the major reason for leaving the previous job for 28% of interviewees who changed jobs in the past five years. Professional development/training opportunities was indicated by almost 90% (195/224) of total interviewees as the most important or a very important factor for satisfaction at their current job. Similarly, regular professional development/opportunities for training was the highest rated incentive to remain at their current job by 80% (179/224). Laboratory professionals employed in the private sector were more likely to change jobs than those working in the public sector (P = 0.002). The findings were used for developing specific strategies for human resources management, in particular targeting professional development, aiming at improving laboratory professionals within the University of Maryland laboratory programme and hence its long-term sustainability.
Laboratory professionals; Job satisfaction; Retention; Sub-Saharan Africa
Ghana is one of the sub-Saharan African countries making significant progress towards universal access to quality healthcare. However, it remains a challenge to attain the 2015 targets for the health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) partly due to health sector human resource challenges including low staff motivation.
This paper addresses indicators of health worker motivation and assesses associations with quality care and patient safety in Ghana. The aim is to identify interventions at the health worker level that contribute to quality improvement in healthcare facilities.
The study is a baseline survey of health workers (n = 324) in 64 primary healthcare facilities in two regions in Ghana. Data collection involved quality care assessment using the SafeCare Essentials tool, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) accreditation data and structured staff interviews on workplace motivating factors. The Spearman correlation test was conducted to test the hypothesis that the level of health worker motivation is associated with level of effort by primary healthcare facilities to improve quality care and patient safety.
The quality care situation in health facilities was generally low, as determined by the SafeCare Essentials tool and NHIA data. The majority of facilities assessed did not have documented evidence of processes for continuous quality improvement and patient safety. Overall, staff motivation appeared low although workers in private facilities perceived better working conditions than workers in public facilities (P <0.05). Significant positive associations were found between staff satisfaction levels with working conditions and the clinic’s effort towards quality improvement and patient safety (P <0.05).
As part of efforts towards attainment of the health related MDGs in Ghana, more comprehensive staff motivation interventions should be integrated into quality improvement strategies especially in government-owned healthcare facilities where working conditions are perceived to be the worst.
Ghana; Health worker; Motivation; Quality care; Primary health facilities; Patient safety; Efforts
Health workforce cross-border mobility has an impact not only on individual health workers, but also on how health services are organized, planned, and delivered. This paper presents the results of a study of current mobility trends of health professionals along the borders between Portugal and Spain. The objective was to describe the profile of mobile physicians and nurses; to elicit the opinions of employers on mobility factors; to describe incentive policies to retain or attract health professionals; and to collect and analyse employers’ opinions on the impact of this mobility on their health services.
Phone interviews of key informants were used to collect relevant data. The interviews were conducted during December 2010 and January 2011 in health organizations along the border of the two countries. In Portugal and Spain, four and 13 organizations were selected, respectively. Interviews were obtained in all the Portuguese organizations and in four of the Spanish organizations.
Findings suggest that cross-border mobility between the two countries has decreased. From Spain to Portugal, mobility trends are mainly of physicians who seek professional development in the form of specialization, the availability of positions, better salaries, and the perceived good living conditions. The mobility of nurses lasted until 2008, when reforms improved working conditions in Spain and contributed to reversing the flow. Since then, there has been an increase of Portuguese nurses going to Spain seeking better working conditions or simply a job. Portuguese nurses as well as Spanish physicians are well considered in terms of professionalism and qualifications by their Spanish and Portuguese hosts, respectively.
There is a deficit of valid data on the health workforce in general. The present study allowed further exploration of the reality of the mobility trends between Portugal and Spain. At present, the mobility trends are mainly of Spanish physicians to Portugal and Portuguese nurses to Spain. There is a consensus on both sides of the border that the benefits of migratory flows are much greater than the limited problems (for example, language and salary differences) that they may bring.
Cross-border mobility; Health workers; Portugal; Spain
To address the shortage of health information personnel within Botswana, an innovative human resources approach was taken. University graduates without training or experience in health information or health sciences were hired and provided with on-the-job training and mentoring to create a new cadre of health worker: the district Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer. This article describes the early outcomes, achievements, and challenges from this initiative.
Data were collected from the district M&E Officers over a 2-year period and included a skills assessment at baseline and 12 months, pre- and post-training tests, interviews during stakeholder site visits, a survey of achievements, focus group discussions, and an attrition assessment.
An average of 2.7 mentoring visits were conducted for M&E Officers in each district. There were five training sessions over 18 months. Knowledge scores significantly increased (p < 0.05) during the three trainings in which pre/post tests were administered. Over 1 year, there were significant improvements (p < 0.05) in self-rated skills related to computer literacy, checking data validity, implementing data quality procedures, using data to support program planning, proposing indicators, and writing M&E reports. Out of the 34 district M&E Officers interviewed during site visits, most were conducting facility visits to review data (27/34; 79%), comparing data sets over time (31/34; 91%), backing up data (32/34; 94%), and analyzing data (32/34; 94%). Common challenges included late facility reports (28/34; 82%), lack of transportation (22/34; 65%), inaccurate facility reports (10/34; 29%), and colleagues’ misunderstanding of M&E (10/34; 29%). Six posts were vacated in the first year (6/51; 12%). A total of 49 Officers completed the achievements survey; of these, common accomplishments related to improvements in data management (35/49; 71%), data quality (31/49; 63%), data use (29/49; 59%), and capacity development (26/49; 53%).
The development of a cadre of district M&E Officers has contributed positively to the health information system in Botswana. In the absence of tertiary training related to health information, on-the-job training and mentoring of university graduates can be an effective approach for developing a new professional cadre of M&E expertise and for strengthening capacity within a national health system.
Health information; Monitoring and evaluation (M&E); Data quality; Task shifting; Health workforce
The contribution of inadequate health worker numbers and emigration have been highlighted in the international literature, but relatively little attention has been paid to absenteeism as a factor that undermines health-care delivery in low income countries. We therefore aimed to review the literature on absenteeism from a health system manager’s perspective to inform needed work on this topic. Specifically, we aimed to develop a typology of definitions that might be useful to classify different forms of absenteeism and identify factors associated with absenteeism. Sixty-nine studies were reviewed, only four were from sub-Saharan Africa where the human resources for health crisis is most acute. Forms of absenteeism studied and methods used vary widely. No previous attempt to develop an overarching approach to classifying forms of absenteeism was identified. A typology based on key characteristics is proposed to fill this gap and considers absenteeism as defined by two key attributes, whether it is: planned/unplanned, and voluntary/involuntary. Factors reported to influence rates of absenteeism may be broadly classified into three thematic categories: workplace and content, personal and organizational and cultural factors. The literature presents an inconsistent picture of the effects of specific factors within these themes perhaps related to true contextual differences or inconsistent definitions of absenteeism.
Absenteeism; Workforce; Sickleave
Despite the increasing interest in using non-physician clinicians in many low-income countries, little is known about the roles they play in typical health system settings. Prior research has concentrated on evaluating their technical competencies compared to those of doctors. This work explored perceptions of the roles of Kenyan non-physician clinicians (Clinical Officers (COs).
Qualitative methods including in-depth interviews (with COs, nurses, doctors, hospital management, and policymakers, among others), participant observation and document analysis were used. A nomothetic-idiographic framework was used to examine tensions between institutions and individuals within them. A comparative approach was used to examine institutional versus individual notions of CO roles, how these roles play out in government and faith-based hospital (FBH) settings as well as differences arising from three specific work settings for COs within hospitals.
The main finding was the discrepancy between policy documents that outline a broad role for COs that covers both technical and managerial roles, while respondents articulated a narrow technical role that focused on patient care and management. Respondents described a variety of images of COs, ranging from ‘filter’ to ‘primary healthcare physician’, when asked about CO roles. COs argued for a defined role associated with primary healthcare, feeling constrained by their technical role. FBH settings were found to additionally clarify CO roles when compared with public hospitals. Tensions between formal prescriptions of CO roles and actual practice were reported and coalesced around lack of recognition over COs work, role conflict among specialist COs, and role ambiguity.
Even though COs are important service providers their role is not clearly understood, which has resulted in role conflict. It is suggested that their role be redefined, moving from that of ‘substitute clinician’ to professional ‘primary care clinician’, with this being supported by the health system.
Angola is one of the African countries with the highest morbidity and mortality rates and a devastating lack of human resources for health, including nursing. The World Health Organization stimulates and takes technical cooperation initiatives for human resource education and training in health and education, with a view to the development of countries in the region. The aim in this study was to identify how nurses affiliated with nursing education institutions perceive the challenges nursing education is facing in Angola.
After consulting the National Directory of Human Resources in Angola, the nurse leaders affiliated with professional nursing education institutions in Angola were invited to participate in the study by email. Data were collected in February 2009 through the focus group technique. The group of participants was focused on the central question: what are the challenges faced for nursing education in your country? To register and understand the information, besides the use of a recorder, the reporters elaborated an interpretative report. Data were coded using content analysis.
Fourteen nurses participated in the meeting, most of whom were affiliated with technical nursing education institutions. It was verified that the nurse leaders at technical and higher nursing education institutions in Angola face many challenges, mainly related to the lack of infrastructure, absence of trained human resources, bureaucratic problems to regularize the schools and lack of material resources. On the opposite, the solutions they present are predominantly centered on the valuation of nursing professionals, which implies cultural and attitude changes.
Public health education policies need to be established in Angola, including action guidelines that permit effective nursing activities. Professional education institutions need further regularizations and nurses need to be acknowledged as key elements for the qualitative enhancement of health services in the country.
Nursing workforce; Nursing education; Human resources; Nursing human resources; Palavras-chave: força de trabalho em enfermagem; Educação em enfermagem; Recursos humanos; Recursos humanos de enfermagem
Health workforce projections are important instruments to prevent imbalances in the health workforce. For both the tenability and further development of these projections, it is important to evaluate the accuracy of workforce projections. In the Netherlands, health workforce projections have been done since 2000 to support health workforce planning. What is the accuracy of the techniques of these Dutch general practitioner workforce projections?
We backtested the workforce projection model by comparing the ex-post projected number of general practitioners with the observed number of general practitioners between 1998 and 2011. Averages of historical data were used for all elements except for inflow in training. As the required training inflow is the key result of the workforce planning model, and has actually determined past adjustments of training inflow, the accuracy of the model was backtested using the observed training inflow and not an average of historical data to avoid the interference of past policy decisions. The accuracy of projections with different lengths of projection horizon and base period (on which the projections are based) was tested.
The workforce projection model underestimated the number of active Dutch general practitioners in most years. The mean absolute percentage errors range from 1.9% to 14.9%, with the projections being more accurate in more recent years. Furthermore, projections with a shorter projection horizon have a higher accuracy than those with a longer horizon. Unexpectedly, projections with a shorter base period have a higher accuracy than those with a longer base period.
According to the results of the present study, forecasting the size of the future workforce did not become more difficult between 1998 and 2011, as we originally expected. Furthermore, the projections with a short projection horizon and a short base period are more accurate than projections with a longer projection horizon and base period. We can carefully conclude that health workforce projections can be made with data based on relatively short base periods, although detailed data are still required to monitor and evaluate the health workforce.
Health workforce; Projections; Evaluation; Accuracy
In sub-Saharan Africa, lack of motivation and job dissatisfaction have been cited as causes of poor healthcare quality and outcomes. Measurement of health workers’ satisfaction adapted to sub-Saharan African working conditions and cultures is a challenge. The objective of this study was to develop a valid and reliable instrument to measure satisfaction among health professionals in the sub-Saharan African context.
A survey was conducted in Senegal and Mali in 2011 among 962 care providers (doctors, midwives, nurses and technicians) practicing in 46 hospitals (capital, regional and district). The participation rate was very high: 97% (937/962). After exploratory factor analysis (EFA), construct validity was assessed through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The discriminant validity of our subscales was evaluated by comparing the average variance extracted (AVE) for each of the constructs with the squared interconstruct correlation (SIC), and finally for criterion validity, each subscale was tested with two hypotheses. Two dimensions of reliability were assessed: internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha subscales and stability over time using a test-retest process.
Eight dimensions of satisfaction encompassing 24 items were identified and validated using a process that combined psychometric analyses and expert opinions: continuing education, salary and benefits, management style, tasks, work environment, workload, moral satisfaction and job stability. All eight dimensions demonstrated significant discriminant validity. The final model showed good performance, with a root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) of 0.0508 (90% CI: 0.0448 to 0.0569) and a comparative fit index (CFI) of 0.9415. The concurrent criterion validity of the eight dimensions was good. Reliability was assessed based on internal consistency, which was good for all dimensions but one (moral satisfaction < 0.70). Test-retest showed satisfactory temporal stability (intra class coefficient range: 0.60 to 0.91).
Job satisfaction is a complex construct; this study provides a multidimensional instrument whose content, construct and criterion validities were verified to ensure its suitability for the sub-Saharan African context. When using these subscales in further studies, the variability of the reliability of the subscales should be taken in to account for calculating the sample sizes. The instrument will be useful in evaluative studies which will help guide interventions aimed at improving both the quality of care and its effectiveness.
Job satisfaction; Sub-Saharan Africa; Health workers; Measurement
In sub-Saharan Africa, nurses and midwives provide expanded HIV services previously seen as the sole purview of physicians. Delegation of these functions often occurs informally by shifting or sharing of tasks and responsibilities. Normalizing these arrangements through regulatory and educational reform is crucial for the attainment of global health goals and the protection of practitioners and those whom they serve. Enacting appropriate changes in both regulation and education requires engagement of national regulatory bodies, but also key stakeholders such as government chief nursing officers (CNO), professional associations, and educators. The purpose of this research is to describe the perspectives and engagement of these stakeholders in advancing critical regulatory and educational reform in east, central, and southern Africa (ECSA).
We surveyed individuals from these three stakeholder groups with regard to task shifting and the challenges related to practice and education regulation reform. The survey used a convenience sample of nursing and midwifery leaders from countries in ECSA who convened on 28 February 2011, for a meeting of the African Health Profession Regulatory Collaborative.
A total of 32 stakeholders from 13 ECSA countries participated in the survey. The majority (72%) reported task shifting is practiced in their countries; however only 57% reported their national regulations had been revised to incorporate additional professional roles and responsibilities. Stakeholders also reported different roles and levels of involvement with regard to nursing and midwifery regulation. The most frequently cited challenge impacting nursing and midwifery regulatory reform was the absence of capacity and resources needed to implement change.
While guidelines on task shifting and recommendations on transforming health professional education exist, this study provides new evidence that countries in the ECSA region face obstacles to adapting their practice and education regulations accordingly. Stakeholders such as CNOs, nursing associations, and academicians have varied and complementary roles with regard to reforming professional practice and education regulation.
This study provides information for effectively engaging leaders in regulatory reform by clarifying their roles, responsibilities, and activities regarding regulation overall as well as their specific perspectives on task shifting and pre-service reform.
Sub-Saharan Africa; Education; HIV; Midwifery; Nursing; Regulation; Stakeholders; Task sharing; Task shifting
While severe shortages, inadequate skills and a geographical imbalance of health personnel have been consistently documented over the years as long term critical challenges in the health sector of the United Republic of Tanzania, there is limited evidence on the gender-based distribution of the health workforce and its likely implications. Extant evidence shows that some people may not seek healthcare unless they have access to a provider of their gender. This paper, therefore, assesses the gender-based distribution of the United Republic of Tanzania’s health workforce cadres.
This is a secondary analysis of data collected in a cross-sectional health facility survey on health system strengthening in the United Republic of Tanzania in 2008. During the survey, 88 health facilities, selected randomly from 8 regions, yielded 815 health workers (HWs) eligible for the current analysis. While Chi-square was used for testing associations in the bivariate analysis, multivariate analysis was conducted using logistic regression to assess the relationship between gender and each of the cadres involved in the analysis.
The mean age of the HWs was 39.7, ranging from 15 to 63 years. Overall, 75% of the HWs were women. The proportion of women among maternal and child health aides or medical attendants (MCHA/MA), nurses and midwives was 86%, 86% and 91%, respectively, while their proportion among clinical officers (COs) and medical doctors (MDs) was 28% and 21%, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) that a HW was a female (baseline category is “male”) for each cadre was: MCHA/MA, OR = 3.70, 95% CI 2.16-6.33; nurse, OR = 5.61, 95% CI 3.22-9.78; midwife, OR = 2.74, 95% CI 1.44-5.20; CO, OR = 0.08, 95% CI 0.04-0.17 and MD, OR = 0.04, 95% CI 0.02-0.09.
The distribution of the United Republic of Tanzania’s health cadres is dramatically gender-skewed, a reflection of gender inequality in health career choices. MCHA/MA, nursing and midwifery cadres are large and female-dominant, whereas COs and MDs are fewer in absolute numbers and male-dominant. While a need for more staff is necessary for an effective delivery of quality health services, adequate representation of women in highly trained cadres is imperative to enhance responses to some gender-specific roles and needs.
Health workforce; Gender; Distribution; Skewness; Tanzania
Unemployment among health professionals in Serbia has risen in the recent past and continues to increase. This highlights the need to understand how to change policies to meet real and projected needs. This study identified variables that were significantly related to physician and nurse employment rates in the public healthcare sector in Serbia from 1961 to 2008 and used these to develop parameters to model physician and nurse supply in the public healthcare sector through to 2015.
The relationships among six variables used for planning physician and nurse employment in public healthcare sector in Serbia were identified for two periods: 1961 to 1982 and 1983 to 2008. Those variables included: the annual total national population; gross domestic product adjusted to 1994 prices; inpatient care discharges; outpatient care visits; students enrolled in the first year of medical studies at public universities; and the annual number of graduated physicians. Based on historic trends, physician supply and nurse supply in the public healthcare sector by 2015 (with corresponding 95% confidence level) have been modeled using Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) / Transfer function (TF) models.
The ARIMA/TF modeling yielded stable and significant forecasts of physician supply (stationary R2 squared = 0.71) and nurse supply (stationary R2 squared = 0.92) in the public healthcare sector in Serbia through to 2015. The most significant predictors for physician employment were the population and GDP. The supply of nursing staff was, in turn, related to the number of physicians. Physician and nurse rates per 100,000 population increased by 13%. The model predicts a seven-year mismatch between the supply of graduates and vacancies in the public healthcare sector is forecasted at 8,698 physicians - a net surplus.
The ARIMA model can be used to project trends, especially those that identify significant mismatches between forecasted supply of physicians and vacancies and can be used to guide decision-making for enrollment planning for the medical schools in Serbia. Serbia needs an inter-sectoral strategy for HRH development that is more coherent with healthcare objectives and more accountable in terms of professional mobility.
In the rapid scale-up of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) treatment, many donors have chosen to channel their funds to non-governmental organizations and other private partners rather than public sector systems. This approach has reinforced a private sector, vertical approach to addressing the HIV epidemic. As progress on stemming the epidemic has stalled in some areas, there is a growing recognition that overall health system strengthening, including health workforce development, will be essential to meet AIDS treatment goals. Mozambique has experienced an especially dramatic increase in disease-specific support over the last eight years. We explored the perspectives and experiences of key Mozambican public sector health managers who coordinate, implement, and manage the myriad donor-driven projects and agencies.
Over a four-month period, we conducted 41 individual qualitative interviews with key Ministry workers at three levels in the Mozambique national health system, using open-ended semi-structured interview guides. We also reviewed planning documents.
All respondents emphasized the value and importance of international aid and vertical funding to the health sector and each highlighted program successes that were made possible by recent increased aid flows. However, three serious concerns emerged: 1) difficulties coordinating external resources and challenges to local control over the use of resources channeled to international private organizations; 2) inequalities created within the health system produced by vertical funds channeled to specific services while other sectors remain under-resourced; and 3) the exodus of health workers from the public sector health system provoked by large disparities in salaries and work.
The Ministry of Health attempted to coordinate aid by implementing a “sector-wide approach” to bring the partners together in setting priorities, harmonizing planning, and coordinating support. Only 14% of overall health sector funding was channeled through this coordinating process by 2008, however. The vertical approach starved the Ministry of support for its administrative functions. The exodus of health workers from the public sector to international and private organizations emerged as the issue of greatest concern to the managers and health workers interviewed. Few studies have addressed the growing phenomenon of “internal brain drain” in Africa which proved to be of greater concern to Mozambique’s health managers.
Brain drain; Africa; Health sector; Aid effectiveness; Vertical disease programming; HIV/AIDS; Ministry of health; Non-governmental organizations; PEPFAR
Health Care Aides (HCAs) provide up to 80% of the direct care to older Canadians living in long term care facilities, or in their homes. They are an understudied workforce, and calls for health human resources strategies relating to these workers are, we feel, precipitous. First, we need a better understanding of the nature and scope of their work, and of the factors that shape it. Here, we discuss the evolving role of HCAs and the factors that impact how and where they work. The work of HCAs includes role-required behaviors, an increasing array of delegated acts, and extra-role behaviors like emotional support. Role boundaries, particularly instances where some workers over-invest in care beyond expected levels, are identified as one of the biggest concerns among employers of HCAs in the current cost-containment environment. A number of factors significantly impact what these workers do and where they work, including market-level differences, job mobility, and work structure. In Canada, entry into this ‘profession’ is increasingly constrained to the Home and Community Care sector, while market-level and work structure differences constrain job mobility to transitions of only the most experienced workers, to the long-term care sector. We note that this is in direct opposition to recent policy initiatives designed to encourage aging at home. Work structure influences what these workers do, and how they work; many HCAs work for three or four different agencies in order to sustain themselves and their families. Expectations with regard to HCA preparation have changed over the past decade in Canada, and training is emerging as a high priority health human resource issue. An increasing emphasis on improving quality of care and measuring performance, and on integrated team-based care delivery, has considerable implications for worker training. New models of care delivery foreshadow a need for management and leadership expertise - these workers have not historically been prepared for leadership roles. We conclude with a brief discussion of the next steps necessary to generating evidence necessary to informing a health human resource strategy relating to the provision of care to older Canadians.
Personal support worker; Health care aide; Long-term care; Home and community care; Exponentiation; Substitution; Role boundary; Role expansion; Elderly; Nursing home
In light of Germany's ageing society, demand for nursing professionals is expected to increase in the coming years. This will pose a challenge for policy makers to increase the supply of nursing professionals.
To portray the different possible developments in the supply of nursing professionals, we projected the supply of formally trained nurses and the potential supply of persons who are able to work in a nursing profession. This potential supply of nursing professionals was calculated on the basis of empirical information on occupational mobility provided by the German Microcensus 2005 (Labour Force Survey). We also calculated how the supply of full-time equivalents (FTEs) will develop if current employment structures develop in the direction of employment behaviour in nursing professions in eastern and western Germany. We then compared these different supply scenarios with two demand projections ('status quo' and 'compression of morbidity' scenarios) from Germany's Federal Statistical Office.
Our results show that, even as early as 2005, meeting demand for FTEs in nursing professions was not arithmetically possible when only persons with formal qualification in a nursing profession were taken into account on the supply side. When additional semi-skilled nursing professionals are included in the calculation, a shortage of labour in nursing professions can be expected in 2018 when the employment structure for all nursing professionals remains the same as the employment structure seen in Germany in 2005 (demand: 'status quo scenario'). Furthermore, given an employment structure as in eastern Germany, where more nursing professionals work on a full-time basis with longer working hours, a theoretical shortage of nursing professionals could be delayed until 2024.
Our analysis of occupational flexibility in the nursing field indicates that additional potential supply could be generated by especially training more young people for a nursing profession as they tend to stay in their initial occupation. Furthermore, the number of FTEs in nursing professions could be increased by promoting more full-time contracts in Western Germany. Additionally, employment contracts for just a small number of weekly working hours (marginal employment) cannot be considered an adequate instrument for keeping formally trained nursing professionals employed in the nursing field.
Forecast for nursing professions; Occupational flexibility; Employment structure; Labour Force Survey
The mobility of health care professionals from the public to private sector is prevalent in South Africa. However, literature on sector switching of clinical doctors remains limited. It is against this background that this study aims to make the labour market visible for histopathologists and identify the reasons for sector switching.
This study is exploratory and descriptive. It uses qualitative methods, such as in-depth interviews, with 70% (n = 16/23) of the population of histopathologists in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Lee’s (1966) push-pull theory is adapted to explain the pull sector switching behaviours of histopathologists. Interviews were recorded and independently transcribed. The narratives of the participants were coded to reflect the main themes that contributed to their sector switching behaviours.
Five key themes emerged as reasons for the mobility of histopathologists from the public to private sector in KwaZulu-Natal. The findings indicate that remuneration, working conditions, work flexibility, career pathing and autonomy of labour processes are the key drivers of this mobility.
Histopathologists provide a core function in the health care chain. However, their invisibility in academic discourse in both public health and human resources for health indicates the paucity of research undertaken on the importance of these specialists in the health care chain. This is especially significant in developing countries like South Africa, where there is a dearth of these specialists. This study, while exploratory, aims to open a dialogue to better understand their reasons for sector switching and, hopefully, inform policies on training, recruitment and retention of these specialists.
Histopathologists; South Africa; Push-pull; Health professional; Private sector mobility
A discrete choice experiment was conducted to investigate preferences for job characteristics among nursing students and practicing nurses to determine how these groups vary in their respective preferences and to understand whether differing policies may be appropriate for each group.
Participating students and workers were administered a discrete choice experiment that elicited preferences for attributes of potential job postings. Job attributes included salary, duration of service until promotion to permanent staff, duration of service until qualified for further study and scholarship, housing provision, transportation provision, and performance-based financial rewards. Mixed logit models were fit to the data to estimate stated preferences and willingness to pay for attributes. Finally, an interaction model was fit to formally investigate differences in preferences between nursing students and practicing nurses.
Data were collected from 256 nursing students and 249 practicing nurses. For both groups, choice of job posting was strongly influenced by salary and direct promotion to permanent staff. As compared to nursing students, practicing nurses had significantly lower preference for housing allowance and housing provision as well as lower preference for provision of transportation for work and personal use.
In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, nursing students and practicing nurses demonstrated important differences in their respective preferences for rural job posting attributes. This finding suggests that it may be important to differentiate between recruitment and retention policies when addressing human resources for health challenges in developing countries, such as Laos.
Nursing; Human resources for health; Attraction; Retention; Discrete choice experiment; Laos People’s Democratic Republic
The migration of health-care workers contributes to the shortage of health-care workers in many developing countries. This paper aims to describe the migration of medical specialists from Sri Lanka and to discuss the successes and failures of strategies to retain them.
This paper presents data on all trainees who have left Sri Lanka for postgraduate training through the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, from April 1980 to June 2009. In addition, confidential interviews were conducted with 30 specialists who returned following foreign training within the last 5 years and 5 specialists who opted to migrate to foreign countries.
From a total of 1,915 specialists who left Sri Lanka for training, 215 (11%) have not returned or have left the country without completing the specified bond period. The majority (53%) migrated to Australia. Of the specialists who left before completion of the bond period, 148 (68.8%) have settled or have started settling the bond. All participants identified foreign training as beneficial for their career. The top reasons for staying in Sri Lanka were: job security, income from private practice, proximity to family and a culturally appropriate environment. The top reasons for migration were: better quality of life, having to work in rural parts of Sri Lanka, career development and social security.
This paper attempts to discuss the reasons for the low rates of emigration of specialists from Sri Lanka. Determining the reasons for retaining these specialists may be useful in designing health systems and postgraduate programs in developing countries with high rates of emigration of specialists.
Migration of health-care workers; Health-care worker shortage; Training of medical specialists
The evidence on the cost and cost-effectiveness of global training programs is sparse. This manager’s guide to cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is for professionals who want to recognize and support high quality CEA. It focuses on CEA of training in the context of program implementation or rapid program expansion. Cost analysis provides cost per output and CEA provides cost per outcome. The distinction between these two analyses is essential for making good decisions about value. A hypothetical example of a cost analysis compares the cost per trainee of a computer-based anti-retroviral therapy (ART) training to a more intensive ART training. In a CEA of the same example, cost per trainee who met ART clinical performance standards is compared. The cost analysis is misleading when the effectiveness differs across trainings. Two additional hypothetical examples progress from simple to more complex costs and from a narrow to a broader scope: 1) CEA of the cost per ART patient with 95% adherence that compares the performance of doctors to counselors who attend additional training, and 2) CEA of the cost per infant HIV infection averted for a Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission program that compares the current program to one with additional training. To create an evidence base on CEA of training, more well-designed analyses and data on the cost of training are needed. Analysts should understand more about how capacity is built, how quality is improved within a health facility, and the costs associated with them. Considering the life of an investment in training, evaluations are needed on how many trainees apply the skills taught, how long trainees continue to apply them, and how long the content of the training conforms to national or international guidelines. Better data on effectiveness of training is also needed. It is feasible to measure effectiveness by clinical performance standards, or intermediate outcomes and coverage. Intermediate outcomes and coverage can also be combined with published estimates on health outcomes.
Capacity development; Cost-analysis; Cost-effectiveness analysis; Training evaluation; Training effectiveness
Effective human resources management plays a vital role in the success of health-care sector reform. Leaders are selected for their clinical expertise and not their management skills, which is often the case at the middle-management level. The purpose of this study was to examine the situation in some fields that involve working with people in health-care organizations at middle-management level.
The study included eight state-owned hospitals in Slovenia. A cross-sectional study included 119 middle managers and 778 employees. Quota sampling was used for the subgroups. Structured survey questionnaires were administered to leaders and employees, each consisting of 24 statements in four content sets evaluated on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Respondents were also asked about the type and number of training or education programmes they had participated in over the last three years. Descriptive statistics, two-way analysis of variance, Pearson’s correlation coefficient and multiple linear regression were used. The study was conducted from March to December 2008.
Statistically significant differences were established between leaders and employees in all content sets; no significant differences were found when comparing health-care providers and health-administration workers. Employment position was found to be a significant predictor for employee development (β = 0.273, P < 0.001), the leader–employee relationship (β = 0.291, P < 0.001) and organizational motivation (β = 0.258, P < 0.001). Area of work (β = 0.113, P = 0.010) and employment position (β = 0.389, P < 0.001) were significant predictors for personal involvement. Level of education correlated negatively with total scores for organizational motivation: respondents with a higher level of education were rated with a lower score (β = -0.117, P = 0.024). Health-care providers participate in management programmes less frequently than do health-administration workers.
Employee participation in change-implementation processes was low, as was awareness of the importance of employee development. Education of employees in Slovenian hospitals for leadership roles is still not perceived as a necessary investment for improving work processes. Hospitals are state owned and a national strategy should be developed on how to improve leadership and management in Slovenian hospitals.
Development; Employee; Hospitals; Middle management; Owner responsibility
Interdisciplinary team work is increasingly prevalent, supported by policies and practices that bring care closer to the patient and challenge traditional professional boundaries. To date, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the processes of team work, and in some cases, outcomes.
This study draws on two sources of knowledge to identify the attributes of a good interdisciplinary team; a published systematic review of the literature on interdisciplinary team work, and the perceptions of over 253 staff from 11 community rehabilitation and intermediate care teams in the UK. These data sources were merged using qualitative content analysis to arrive at a framework that identifies characteristics and proposes ten competencies that support effective interdisciplinary team work.
Ten characteristics underpinning effective interdisciplinary team work were identified: positive leadership and management attributes; communication strategies and structures; personal rewards, training and development; appropriate resources and procedures; appropriate skill mix; supportive team climate; individual characteristics that support interdisciplinary team work; clarity of vision; quality and outcomes of care; and respecting and understanding roles.
We propose competency statements that an effective interdisciplinary team functioning at a high level should demonstrate.
Interdisciplinary team work; Competencies; Intermediate care; Transitional care; Allied health; Systematic review; Evidence synthesis; Qualitative research
The village doctors have served rural residents for many decades in China, and their role in rural health system has been highly praised in the world; unfortunately, less attention has been paid to the health workforce during the ambitious healthcare reform in recent years. Therefore, we conducted a longitudinal study to explore the current situation and track the future evolution of the rural healthcare workforce.
The self-administered structured Village Clinic Questionnaire and Village Doctor Questionnaire, which were modified from the official questionnaires of the Ministry of Health, were constructed after three focus groups, in-depth interviews in Hebei Province, and a pilot survey in Sichuan Province. Using a stratified multistage cluster sampling process, we gathered baseline data for a longitudinal survey of village doctors, village clinics from Changshu County, Liyang County, Yongchuan District, Mianzhu County, and Jingning County in China in 2011. Well-trained interviewers and strict procedures were employed to ensure the quality of this survey. Descriptive and correlation analyses were performed with Stata 12.0.
After four months of surveying, 1,982 Village Doctor Questionnaires were collected, and the response rate was 88.1%. There were 1,507 (76.0%) male and 475 (24.0%) female doctors, with an average age of 51.3 years. The majority of village doctors (58.5%) practiced both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and 91.2% of the doctors received their education below college level. Their practice methods were not correlated with education level (P = 0.43), but closely related to the way they obtained their highest degree (that is, prior to starting work or as on-the-job training) (P < 0.01). The mean income of the village doctors was 1,817 (95% CI 1,733 to 1,900) RMB per month in 2011; only 757 (41.3%) doctors had pensions, and the self-reported expected pension was 1,965 RMB per month.
Village doctors in rural China are facing critical challenges, including aging, gender imbalance, low education, and a lack of social protection. This study may be beneficial for making better policies for the development of the health workforce and China’s healthcare reform.
Rural health workforce; Human resources for health; Village doctors; Barefoot doctors; China