This study describes job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job among primary health-care providers in countries with distinctly different human resources crises, Afghanistan and Malawi.
Using a cross-sectional design, we enrolled 87 health-care providers in 32 primary health-care facilities in Afghanistan and 360 providers in 10 regional hospitals in Malawi. The study questionnaire was used to assess job satisfaction, intention to stay on the job and five features of the workplace environment: resources, performance recognition, financial compensation, training opportunities and safety. Descriptive analyses, exploratory factor analyses for scale development, bivariate correlation analyses and bivariate and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.
The multivariate model for Afghanistan, with demographic, background and work environment variables, explained 23.9% of variance in job satisfaction (F(9,73) = 5.08; P < 0.01). However, none of the work environment variables were significantly related to job satisfaction. The multivariate model for intention to stay for Afghanistan explained 23.6% of variance (F(8,74) = 4.10; P < 0.01). Those with high scores for recognition were more likely to have higher intention to stay (β = 0.328, P < 0.05). However, being paid an appropriate salary was negatively related to intent to stay (β = -0.326, P < 0.01). For Malawi, the overall model explained only 9.8% of variance in job satisfaction (F(8,332) = 4.19; P < 0.01) and 9.1% of variance in intention to stay (F(10,330) = 3.57; P < 0.01).
The construction of concepts of health-care worker satisfaction and intention to stay on the job are highly dependent on the local context. Although health-care workers in both Afghanistan and Malawi reported satisfaction with their jobs, the predictors of satisfaction, and the extent to which those predictors explained variations in job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job, differed substantially. These findings demonstrate the need for more detailed comparative human resources for health-care research, particularly regarding the relative importance of different determinants of job satisfaction and intention to stay in different contexts and the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve health-care worker performance and retention.
Afghanistan; Job satisfaction; Malawi; Retention
The shortage in human resources for health affects most dramatically developing countries which frequently use community health workers (CHW) as the basis for health programmes and services. The traditional definition refers CHWs as members of the community who are recruited and trained in health prevention and promotion to provide services within their community. In Guinea-Bissau, CHWs play a fundamental role in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood diarrheal diseases - one of the main health problems in the country.
This study is based on 22 CHW, 79% of the total number of CHW in the Sanitary Region of Bolama. The main goal was to assess how training CHW on diarrheal diseases impacted the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases in children under the age of 5 years. Three evaluations were made throughout time - one evaluation before the training and two follow-up evaluations.
An observation grid was developed to evaluate the identified signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments prescribed by the CHW in consultations to children with a suspicion of diarrhoeal disease. A similar grid was filled by a medical doctor who took the role of the external validation standard.
Friedman’s variance analysis and Cochran’s Q test were performed to compare the accuracy depicted by CHWs in identifying items throughout time. A logistic regression model was also used to check the possible influence of socio-demographic characteristics of CHWs on the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment prescribed by the CHW.
The results show that CHWs improve significantly their performance in identifying the correct diagnosis in the first follow-up moment after the training (P = 0.001, n = 22) but, 3 months later, the effectiveness decreases. No statistical evidence was found for the logistic regression models applied.
This progressive loss of performance after training may occur because CHWs fail to apply treatment algorithms and guidelines over time.
A limited set of socio-demographic characteristics of the CHWs can influence their performance and should not be disregarded when selecting CHW candidates.
The selection, supervision, support and continuous training of CHW are as important as the training provided.
Community health workers; Training; Impact; Diagnosis accuracy; Diarrheal diseases
Australia’s health workforce is facing significant challenges now and into the future. Health Workforce Australia (HWA) was established by the Council of Australian Governments as the national agency to progress health workforce reform to address the challenges of providing a skilled, innovative and flexible health workforce in Australia. HWA developed Australia’s first major, long-term national workforce projections for doctors, nurses and midwives over a planning horizon to 2025 (called Health Workforce 2025; HW 2025), which provided a national platform for developing policies to help ensure Australia’s health workforce meets the community’s needs.
A review of existing workforce planning methodologies, in concert with the project brief and an examination of data availability, identified that the best fit-for-purpose workforce planning methodology was the stock and flow model for estimating workforce supply and the utilisation method for estimating workforce demand. Scenario modelling was conducted to explore the implications of possible alternative futures, and to demonstrate the sensitivity of the model to various input parameters. Extensive consultation was conducted to test the methodology, data and assumptions used, and also influenced the scenarios selected for modelling. Additionally, a number of other key principles were adopted in developing HW 2025 to ensure the workforce projections were robust and able to be applied nationally.
The findings from HW 2025 highlighted that a ‘business as usual’ approach to Australia’s health workforce is not sustainable over the next 10 years, with a need for co-ordinated, long-term reforms by government, professions and the higher education and training sector for a sustainable and affordable health workforce. The main policy levers identified to achieve change were innovation and reform, immigration, training capacity and efficiency and workforce distribution.
While HW 2025 has provided a national platform for health workforce policy development, it is not a one-off project. It is an ongoing process where HWA will continue to develop and improve health workforce projections incorporating data and methodology improvements to support incremental health workforce changes.
Workforce planning; Workforce projections
The editors of Human Resources for Health would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 11 (2013).
Kenya’s human resources for health shortage is well documented, yet in line with the new constitution, responsibility for health service delivery will be devolved to 47 new county administrations. This work describes the public sector nursing workforce likely to be inherited by the counties, and examines the relationships between nursing workforce density and key indicators.
National nursing deployment data linked to nursing supply data were used and analyzed using statistical and geographical analysis software. Data on nurses deployed in national referral hospitals and on nurses deployed in non-public sector facilities were excluded from main analyses. The densities and characteristics of the public sector nurses across the counties were obtained and examined against an index of county remoteness, and the nursing densities were correlated with five key indicators.
Of the 16,371 nurses in the public non-tertiary sector, 76% are women and 53% are registered nurses, with 35% of the nurses aged 40 to 49 years. The nursing densities across counties range from 1.2 to 0.08 per 1,000 population. There are statistically significant associations of the nursing densities with a measure of health spending per capita (P value = 0.0028) and immunization rates (P value = 0.0018). A higher county remoteness index is associated with explaining lower female to male ratio of public sector nurses across counties (P value <0.0001).
An overall shortage of nurses (range of 1.2 to 0.08 per 1,000) in the public sector countrywide is complicated by mal-distribution and varying workforce characteristics (for example, age profile) across counties. All stakeholders should support improvements in human resources information systems and help address personnel shortages and mal-distribution if equitable, quality health-care delivery in the counties is to be achieved.
Nurses; Public sector; Human resources for health; County; Kenya
The density of the nursing and maternal child health nursing workforce in Mozambique (0.32/1000) is well below the WHO minimum standard of 1 nurse per 1000. Two levels of education were being offered for both nurses and maternal child health nurses, in programmes ranging from 18 to 30 months in length. The health care workforce in Mozambique also includes Medical Technicians and Medical Agents, who are also educated at either basic or mid-level. The Ministry of Health determined the need to document the tasks that each of the six cadres was performing within various health facilities to identify gaps, and duplications, in order to identify strategies for streamlining workforce production, while retaining highest educational and competency standards. The methodology of task analysis (TA) was used to achieve this objective. This article provides information about the TA methodology, and selected outcomes of the very broad study.
A cross-sectional descriptive task analysis survey was conducted over a 15 month period (2008–2009). A stratified sample of 1295 individuals was recruited from every type of health facility in all of Mozambique’s 10 provinces and in Maputo City. Respondents indicated how frequently they performed any of 233 patient care tasks. Data analysis focused on identifying areas where identical tasks were performed by the various cadres. Analyses addressed frequency of performance, grouped by level of educational preparation, within various types of health facilities.
Task sharing ranged from 74% to 88% between basic and general nurse cadres and from 54% to 88% between maternal and child health nurse cadres, within various health facility types. Conversely, there was distinction between scope of practice for nursing and maternal/child health nursing cadres.
The educational pathways to general nursing and maternal/child health nursing careers were consolidated into one 24 month programme for each career. The scopes of practice were affirmed based on task analysis survey data.
In 2010 the Gezira Family Medicine Project (GFMP) was initiated in Gezira state, Sudan, designed as an in-service training model. The project is a collaboration project between the University of Gezira, which aims to provide a 2-year master’s programme in family medicine for practicing doctors, and the Ministry of Health, which facilitates service provision and funds the training programme. This paper presents the programme, the teaching environment, and the first batch of candidates enrolled.
In this study a self-administered questionnaire was used to collect baseline data at the start of the project from doctors who joined the programme. A checklist was also used to assess the health centres where they work. A total of 188 out of 207 doctors responded (91%), while data were gathered from all 158 health centres (100%) staffed by the programme candidates.
The Gezira model of in-service family medicine training has succeeded in recruiting 207 candidates in its first batch, providing health services in 158 centres, of which 84 had never been served by a doctor before. The curriculum is community oriented. The mean age of doctors was 32.5 years, 57% were males, and 32% were graduates from the University of Gezira. Respondents stated high confidence in practicing some skills such as asthma management and post-abortion uterine evacuation. They were least confident in other skills such as managing depression or inserting an intrauterine device. The majority of health centres was poorly equipped for management of noncommunicable diseases, as only 10% had an electrocardiography machine (ECG), 5% had spirometer, and 1% had a defibrillator.
The Gezira model has responded to local health system needs. Use of modern information and communication technology is used to facilitate both health service provision and training. The GFMP represents an example of a large-volume scaling-up programme of family medicine in Africa.
Family medicine; In-service training; Telemedicine; Sudan; Curriculum development
The World Health Organisation has advocated for comprehensive primary care teams, which include family physicians. However, despite (or because of) severe doctor shortages in Africa, there is insufficient clarity on the role of the family physician in the primary health care team. Instead there is a trend towards task shifting without thought for teamwork, which runs the risk of dangerous oversimplification. It is not clear how African leaders understand the challenges of implementing family medicine, especially in human resource terms. This study, therefore, sought to explore the views of academic and government leaders on critical human resource issues for implementation of family medicine in Africa.
In this qualitative study, key academic and government leaders were purposively selected from sixteen African countries. In-depth interviews were conducted using an interview guide. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.
There were 27 interviews conducted with 16 government and 11 academic leaders in nine Sub-Saharan African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. Respondents spoke about: educating doctors in family medicine suited to Africa, including procedural skills and holistic care, to address the difficulty of recruiting and retaining doctors in rural and underserved areas; planning for primary health care teams, including family physicians; new supervisory models in primary health care; and general human resource management issues.
Important milestones in African health care fail to specifically address the human resource issues of integrated primary health care teamwork that includes family physicians. Leaders interviewed in this study, however, proposed organising the district health system with a strong embrace of family medicine in Africa, especially with regard to providing clinical leadership in team-based primary health care. Whilst these leaders focussed positively on entry and workforce issues, in terms of the 2006 World Health Report on human resources for health, they did not substantially address retention of family physicians. Family physicians need to respond to the challenge by respondents to articulate human resource policies appropriate to Africa, including the organisational development of the primary health care team with more sophisticated skills and teamwork.
Family medicine; Primary health care; Africa; Development; Family physician; Human resources; Policy
Ongoing economic and health system reforms in China have transformed nurse employment in Chinese hospitals. Employment of ‘bianzhi’ nurses, a type of position with state-guaranteed lifetime employment that has been customary since 1949, is decreasing while there is an increase in the contract-based nurse employment with limited job security and reduced benefits. The consequences of inequities between the two types of nurses in terms of wages and job-related benefits are unknown. This study examined current rates of contract-based nurse employment and the effects of the new nurse contract employment strategy on nurse and patient outcomes in Chinese hospitals.
This cross-sectional study used geographically representative survey data collected from 2008 to 2010 from 181 hospitals in six provinces, two municipalities, and one autonomous region in China. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between contract-based nurse utilization, dissatisfaction among contract-based nurses, nurse intentions to leave their positions, and patient satisfaction, controlling for nurse, patient, and hospital characteristics.
Hospital-level utilization of contract-based nurses varies greatly from 0 to 91%, with an average of 51%. Contract-based nurses were significantly more dissatisfied with their remuneration and benefits than ‘bianzhi’ nurses who have more job security (P <0.01). Contract-based nurses who were dissatisfied with their salary and benefits were more likely to intend to leave their current positions (P <0.01). Hospitals with high levels of dissatisfaction with salary and benefits among contract-based nurses were rated lower and less likely to be recommended by patients (P < 0.05).
Our results suggest a high utilization of contract-based nurses in Chinese hospitals, and that the inequities in benefits between contract-based nurses and ‘bianzhi’ nurses may adversely affect both nurse and patient satisfaction in hospitals. Our study provides empirical support for the ‘equal pay for equal work’ policy emphasized by the China Ministry of Health’s recent regulations, and calls for efforts in Chinese hospitals to eliminate the disparities between ‘bianzhi’ and contract-based nurses.
Contract-based nurses; ‘bianzhi’ nurses; Nurse dissatisfaction; Patient satisfaction; Chinese hospitals
Provide an up-to-date national picture of the medical, midwifery and nursing workforce distribution in Australia with a focus on overseas immigration and on production sustainability challenges.
Using 2006 and 2011 Australian census data, analysis was conducted on medical practitioners (doctors) and on midwifery and nursing professionals.
Of the 70,231 medical practitioners in Australia in 2011, 32,919 (47.3%) were Australian-born, with the next largest groups bring born in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In 2006, 51.9% of medical practitioners were born in Australia. Of the 239,924 midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia, 127,911 (66.8%) were born in Australia, with the next largest groups being born in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in Southeast Asia. In 2006, 69.8% of midwifery and nursing professionals were born in Australia. Western Australia has the highest percentage of foreign-born health workers. There is a higher percentage of Australia-born health workers in rural areas than in urban areas (82% of midwifery and nursing professional in rural areas are Australian-born versus 59% in urban areas). Of the 15,168 additional medical practitioners in Australia between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, 10,452 (68.9%) were foreign-born, including large increases from such countries as India, Nepal, Philippines, and Zimbabwe. We estimate that Australia has saved US$1.7 billion in medical education costs through the arrival of foreign-born medical practitioners over the past five years.
The Australian health system is increasingly reliant on foreign-born health workers. This raises questions of medical education sustainability in Australia and on Australia’s recruitment from countries facing critical shortages of health workers.
Australia; Doctors; Health workforce; Migration; Nurses
The need to develop capacity for health services and systems research (HSSR) in low and middle income countries has been highlighted in a number of international forums. However, little is known about the level of HSSR training in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We conducted an assessment at four major East and Southern African universities to describe: a) the numbers of HSSR PhD trainees at these institutions, b) existing HSSR curricula and mode of delivery, and c) motivating and challenging factors for PhD training, from the trainees’ experience.
PhD training program managers completed a pre-designed form about trainees enrolled since 2006. A desk review of existing health curricula was also conducted to identify HSSR modules being offered; and PhD trainees completed a self-administered questionnaire on motivating and challenging factors they may have experienced during their PhD training.
Of the 640 PhD trainees enrolled in the health sciences since 2006, only 24 (3.8%) were in an HSSR field. None of the universities had a PhD training program focusing on HSSR. The 24 HSSR PhD trainees had trained in partnership with a university outside Africa. Top motivating factors for PhD training were: commitment of supervisors (67%), availability of scholarships (63%), and training attached to a research grant (25%). Top challenging factors were: procurement delays (44%), family commitments (38%), and poor Internet connection (35%).
The number of HSSR PhD trainees is at the moment too small to enable a rapid accumulation of the required critical mass of locally trained HSSR professionals to drive the much needed health systems strengthening and innovations in this region. Curricula for advanced HSSR training are absent, exposing a serious training gap for HSSR in this region.
Health services and systems research; training; Sub-Saharan Africa
To describe some sociodemographic and educational characteristics of oral health technicians (OHTs) in public primary health care teams in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed based on the telephone survey of a representative sample comprising 231 individuals. A pre-tested instrument was used for the data collection, including questions on gender, age in years, years of work as an OHT, years since graduation as an OHT, formal schooling, individual income in a month, and participation in continuing educational programmes. The descriptive statistic was developed and the formation of clusters, by the agglomerative hierarchy technique based on the furthest neighbour, was based on the age, years of work as an OHT, time since graduation as an OHT, formal schooling, individual income in a month, and participation in continuing educational programmes.
Most interviewees (97.1%) were female. A monthly income of USD 300.00 to 600.00 was reported by 77.5% of the sample. Having educational qualifications in excess of their role was reported by approximately 20% of the participants. The median time since graduation was six years, and half of the sample had worked for four years as an OHT. Most interviewees (67.6%) reported having participated in professional continuing educational programmes. Two different clusters were identified based on the sociodemographic and educational characteristics of the sample.
The Brazilian OHTs in public primary health care teams in the state of Minas Gerais are mostly female who have had little time since graduation, working experience, and formal schooling sufficient for professional practice.
Dental auxiliaries; Dental hygienists; Oral health technician; Socioeconomic factors; Educational profile
Increasingly, health workforces are undergoing high-level ‘re-engineering’ to help them better meet the needs of the population, workforce and service delivery. Queensland Health implemented a large scale 5-year workforce redesign program across more than 13 health-care disciplines. This study synthesized the findings from this program to identify and codify mechanisms associated with successful workforce redesign to help inform other large workforce projects.
This study used Inductive Logic Reasoning (ILR), a process that uses logic models as the primary functional tool to develop theories of change, which are subsequently validated through proposition testing. Initial theories of change were developed from a systematic review of the literature and synthesized using a logic model. These theories of change were then developed into propositions and subsequently tested empirically against documentary, interview, and survey data from 55 projects in the workforce redesign program.
Three overarching principles were identified that optimized successful workforce redesign: (1) drivers for change need to be close to practice; (2) contexts need to be supportive both at the local levels and legislatively; and (3) mechanisms should include appropriate engagement, resources to facilitate change management, governance, and support structures. Attendance to these factors was uniformly associated with success of individual projects.
ILR is a transparent and reproducible method for developing and testing theories of workforce change. Despite the heterogeneity of projects, professions, and approaches used, a consistent set of overarching principles underpinned success of workforce change interventions. These concepts have been operationalized into a workforce change checklist.
Role redesign; Workforce change; Implementation; Logic model; Proposition testing; Mixed methods; Workforce flexibility; Allied health; Inductive logic reasoning
Since Mozambique’s independence, the major emphasis of its higher educational institutions has been on didactic education. Because of fiscal and human resource constraints, basic and applied research activities have been relatively modest in scope, and priorities have often been set primarily by external collaborators. These factors have compromised the scope and the relevance of locally conducted research and have limited the impact of Mozambique’s universities as major catalysts for national development.
We developed a multi-institutional partnership to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the research environment at Mozambique’s major public universities to identify factors that have served as barriers to the development of a robust research enterprise. Based on this analysis, we developed a multifaceted plan to reduce the impact of these barriers and to enhance research capacity within Mozambique.
On the basis of our needs assessment, we have implemented a number of major initiatives within participating institutions to facilitate basic and applied research activities. These have included specialized training programmes, a reorganization of the research administration infrastructure, the development of multiple collaborative research projects that have emphasized local research priorities and a substantial investment in bioinformatics. We have established a research support centre that provides grant development and management services to Mozambique’s public universities and have developed an independent Institutional Review Board for the review of research involving human research subjects. Multiple research projects involving both communicable and non-communicable diseases have been developed and substantial external research support has been obtained to undertake these projects. A sizable investment in biomedical informatics has enhanced both connectivity and access to digital reference material. Active engagement with relevant entities within the Government of Mozambique has aligned institutional development with national priorities.
Although multiple challenges remain, over the past 3 years significant progress has been made towards establishing conditions within which a broad range of basic, translational and clinical and public health research can be undertaken. Ongoing development of this research enterprise will enhance capacity to address critical locally relevant research questions and will leverage resources to accelerate the development of Mozambique’s national universities.
Research; Research capacity building in Mozambique; MEPI Mozambique
Approximately 70 to 80% of healthcare errors are due to poor team communication and understanding. High-risk environments such as the trauma setting (which covers a broad spectrum of departments in acute services) are where the majority of these errors occur. Despite the emphasis on interprofessional collaborative practice and patient safety, interprofessional teamworking in the trauma setting has received little attention. This paper presents the findings of a scoping review designed to identify the extent and nature of this literature in this setting. The MEDLINE (via OVID, using keywords and MeSH in OVID), and PubMed (via NCBI using MeSH), and CINAHL databases were searched from January 2000 to April 2013 for results of interprofessional teamworking in the trauma setting. A hand search was conducted by reviewing the reference lists of relevant articles. In total, 24 published articles were identified for inclusion in the review. Studies could be categorized into three main areas, and within each area were a number of themes: 1) descriptions of the organization of trauma teams (themes included interaction between team members, and leadership); 2) descriptions of team composition and structure (themes included maintaining team stability and core team members); and 3) evaluation of team work interventions (themes included activities in practice and activities in the classroom setting).
Descriptive studies highlighted the fluid nature of team processes, the shared mental models, and the need for teamwork and communication. Evaluative studies placed a greater emphasis on specialized roles and individual tasks and activities. This reflects a multiprofessional as opposed to an interprofessional model of teamwork. Some of the characteristics of high-performing interprofessional teams described in this review are also evident in effective teams in the community rehabilitation and intermediate care setting. These characteristics may well be pertinent to other settings, and so provide a useful foundation for future investigations.
Interprofessional teamworking; Interprofessional collaborative practice; Trauma setting
There is a severe healthcare workforce shortage in sub Saharan Africa, which threatens achieving the Millennium Development Goals and attaining an AIDS-free generation. The strength of a healthcare system depends on the skills, competencies, values and availability of its workforce. A well-trained and competent laboratory technologist ensures accurate and reliable results for use in prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment of diseases.
An assessment of existing preservice education of five medical laboratory schools, followed by remedial intervention and monitoring was conducted. The remedial interventions included 1) standardizing curriculum and implementation; 2) training faculty staff on pedagogical methods and quality management systems; 3) providing teaching materials; and 4) procuring equipment for teaching laboratories to provide practical skills to complement didactic education.
A total of 2,230 undergraduate students from the five universities benefitted from the standardized curriculum. University of Gondar accounted for 252 of 2,230 (11.3%) of the students, Addis Ababa University for 663 (29.7%), Jimma University for 649 (29.1%), Haramaya University for 429 (19.2%) and Hawassa University for 237 (10.6%) of the students. Together the universities graduated 388 and 312 laboratory technologists in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 academic year, respectively. Practical hands-on training and experience with well-equipped laboratories enhanced and ensured skilled, confident and competent laboratory technologists upon graduation.
Strengthening preservice laboratory education is feasible in resource-limited settings, and emphasizing its merits (ample local capacity, country ownership and sustainability) provides a valuable source of competent laboratory technologists to relieve an overstretched healthcare system.
Preservice education; PEPFAR; Curriculum; Standardization; Laboratory workforce strengthening; Training; Sustainability
The health of adolescents is increasingly seen as an important international priority because the world’s one point eight billion young people (aged 10 to 24 years) accounts for 15.5% of the global burden of disease and are disproportionately located in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Furthermore, an estimated 70% of premature adult deaths are attributable to unhealthy behaviors often initiated in adolescence (such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity). In order for health services to reach adolescents in LMICs, innovative service delivery models need to be explored and tested. This paper reviews the literature on generalist and specialist community health workers (CHWs) to assess their potential for strengthening the delivery of adolescent health services.
We reviewed the literature on CHWs using Medline (PubMed), EBSCO Global Health, and Global Health Archive. Search terms (n = 19) were sourced from various review articles and combined with subject heading ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ to identify English language abstracts of original research articles on generalist and specialist CHWs.
A total of 106 articles, from 1985 to 2012, and representing 24 African countries, matched our search criteria. A single study in sub-Saharan Africa used CHWs to deliver adolescent health services with promising results. Though few comprehensive evaluations of large-scale CHW programs exist, we found mixed evidence to support the use of either generalist or specialist CHW models for delivering adolescent health services.
This review found that innovative service delivery approaches, such as those potentially offered by CHWs, for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa are lacking, CHW programs have proliferated despite the absence of high quality evaluations, rigorous studies to establish the comparative effectiveness of generalist versus specialist CHW programs are needed, and further investigation of the role of CHWs in providing adolescent health services in sub-Saharan Africa is warranted.
Community health workers; Youth friendly health services; Adolescent health; Sub-Saharan Africa
Inequity in health workforce distribution has been a national concern of the Thai health service for decades. The government has launched various policies to increase the distribution of health workforces to rural areas. However, little is known regarding the attitudes of health workers and the factors influencing their decision to work in rural areas. This study aimed to explore the current attitudes of new medical, dental and pharmacy graduates as well as determine the linkage between their characteristics and the preference for working in rural areas.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted, using self-administered questionnaires, with a total of 1,225 medical, dental and pharmacy graduates. They were participants of the meeting arranged by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) on 1–2 April 2012. Descriptive statistics using mean and percentage, and inferential statistics using logistic regression with marginal effects, were applied for data analysis.
There were 754 doctors (44.4%), 203 dentists (42.6%) and 268 pharmacists (83.8%) enrolled in the survey. Graduates from all professions had positive views towards working in rural areas. Approximately 22% of doctors, 31% of dentists and 52% of pharmacists selected ‘close proximity to hometown’ as the most important reason for workplace selection. The multivariable analysis showed a variation in attributes associated with the tendency to work in rural areas across professions. In case of doctors, special track graduates had a 10% higher tendency to prefer rural work than those recruited through the national entrance examination.
The majority of graduates chose to work in community hospitals, and attitudes towards rural work were quite positive. In-depth analysis found that factors influencing their choice varied between professions. Special track recruitment positively influenced the selection of rural workplaces among new doctors attending the MOPH annual meeting for workplace selection. This policy innovation should be applied to dentists and pharmacists as well. However, implementing a single policy without supporting strategies, or failing to consider different characteristics between professions, might not be effective. Future study of attitudes and factors contributing to the selection of, and retention in, rural service of both new graduates and in-service professionals was recommended.
Medical graduate; Dental graduate; Pharmacy graduate; Medical education; Supply and distribution; Attitude of health personnel; Rural distribution
There is a renewed interest in community health workers (CHWs) in Tanzania, but also a concern that low motivation of CHWs may decrease the benefits of investments in CHW programs. This study aimed to explore sources of CHW motivation to inform programs in Tanzania and similar contexts.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 CHWs in Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed, and coded prior to translation and thematic analysis. The authors then conducted a literature review on CHW motivation and a framework that aligned with our findings was modified to guide the presentation of results.
Sources of CHW motivation were identified at the individual, family, community, and organizational levels. At the individual level, CHWs are predisposed to volunteer work and apply knowledge gained to their own problems and those of their families and communities. Families and communities supplement other sources of motivation by providing moral, financial, and material support, including service fees, supplies, money for transportation, and help with farm work and CHW tasks. Resistance to CHW work exhibited by families and community members is limited. The organizational level (the government and its development partners) provides motivation in the form of stipends, potential employment, materials, training, and supervision, but inadequate remuneration and supplies discourage CHWs. Supervision can also be dis-incentivizing if perceived as a sign of poor performance.
Tanzanian CHWs who work despite not receiving a salary have an intrinsic desire to volunteer, and their motivation often derives from support received from their families when other sources of motivation are insufficient. Policy-makers and program managers should consider the burden that a lack of remuneration imposes on the families of CHWs. In addition, CHWs’ intrinsic desire to volunteer does not preclude a desire for external rewards. Rather, adequate and formal financial incentives and in-kind alternatives would allow already-motivated CHWs to increase their commitment to their work.
Community health workers; Motivation; Incentives; Tanzania
In-service training represents a significant financial investment for supporting continued competence of the health care workforce. An integrative review of the education and training literature was conducted to identify effective training approaches for health worker continuing professional education (CPE) and what evidence exists of outcomes derived from CPE.
A literature review was conducted from multiple databases including PubMed, the Cochrane Library and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) between May and June 2011. The initial review of titles and abstracts produced 244 results. Articles selected for analysis after two quality reviews consisted of systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and programme evaluations published in peer-reviewed journals from 2000 to 2011 in the English language. The articles analysed included 37 systematic reviews and 32 RCTs. The research questions focused on the evidence supporting educational techniques, frequency, setting and media used to deliver instruction for continuing health professional education.
The evidence suggests the use of multiple techniques that allow for interaction and enable learners to process and apply information. Case-based learning, clinical simulations, practice and feedback are identified as effective educational techniques. Didactic techniques that involve passive instruction, such as reading or lecture, have been found to have little or no impact on learning outcomes. Repetitive interventions, rather than single interventions, were shown to be superior for learning outcomes. Settings similar to the workplace improved skill acquisition and performance. Computer-based learning can be equally or more effective than live instruction and more cost efficient if effective techniques are used. Effective techniques can lead to improvements in knowledge and skill outcomes and clinical practice behaviours, but there is less evidence directly linking CPE to improved clinical outcomes. Very limited quality data are available from low- to middle-income countries.
Educational techniques are critical to learning outcomes. Targeted, repetitive interventions can result in better learning outcomes. Setting should be selected to support relevant and realistic practice and increase efficiency. Media should be selected based on the potential to support effective educational techniques and efficiency of instruction. CPE can lead to improved learning outcomes if effective techniques are used. Limited data indicate that there may also be an effect on improving clinical practice behaviours. The research agenda calls for well-constructed evaluations of culturally appropriate combinations of technique, setting, frequency and media, developed for and tested among all levels of health workers in low- and middle-income countries.
In-service training; Continuing professional education; Continuing medical education; Continuing professional development
In-service training is a key strategic approach to addressing the severe shortage of health care workers in many countries. However, there is a lack of evidence linking these health care worker trainings to improved health outcomes. In response, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s Human Resources for Health Technical Working Group initiated a project to develop an outcome-focused training evaluation framework. This paper presents the methods and results of that project.
A general inductive methodology was used for the conceptualization and development of the framework. Fifteen key informant interviews were conducted to explore contextual factors, perceived needs, barriers and facilitators affecting the evaluation of training outcomes. In addition, a thematic analysis of 70 published articles reporting health care worker training outcomes identified key themes and categories. These were integrated, synthesized and compared to several existing training evaluation models. This formed an overall typology which was used to draft a new framework. Finally, the framework was refined and validated through an iterative process of feedback, pilot testing and revision.
The inductive process resulted in identification of themes and categories, as well as relationships among several levels and types of outcomes. The resulting framework includes nine distinct types of outcomes that can be evaluated, which are organized within three nested levels: individual, organizational and health system/population. The outcome types are: (1) individual knowledge, attitudes and skills; (2) individual performance; (3) individual patient health; (4) organizational systems; (5) organizational performance; (6) organizational-level patient health; (7) health systems; (8) population-level performance; and (9) population-level health. The framework also addresses contextual factors which may influence the outcomes of training, as well as the ability of evaluators to determine training outcomes. In addition, a group of user-friendly resources, the Training Evaluation Framework and Tools (TEFT) were created to help evaluators and stakeholders understand and apply the framework.
Feedback from pilot users suggests that using the framework and accompanying tools may support outcome evaluation planning. Further assessment will assist in strengthening guidelines and tools for operationalization.
Health worker training; Training evaluation framework and tools; Training outcomes
Nursing shortages and maldistribution are priority issues for healthcare systems around the globe. Such imbalances are often aggravated in underserved areas, especially in developing countries. Despite the centrality of this issue, there is a dearth of studies that examine the retention of nurses in underserved areas in the Middle East Region. This study investigates the characteristic and the factors associated with the retention of nurses working in rural areas in Lebanon.
This study uses a non-experimental cross-sectional design to survey nurses working in underserved areas of Lebanon. Underserved areas in Lebanon were identified using WHO definition. A total of 103 health facilities (hospitals and primary healthcare centers) located in these areas were identified and all nurses working at these facilities received a copy of the survey questionnaire. The questionnaire included five sections: demographic, work-life, career plan, job satisfaction, and assessment of work environment. Analysis included univariate and bivariate (chi-square, Student’s t-test and ANOVA) tests to describe the respondents and examine the significance between nurses’ characteristics and their intent to stay. A logistic regression model was constructed to identify factors associated with nurses’ intent to stay in underserved areas.
A total of 857 nurses from 63 Primary Healthcare (PHC) centers and hospitals responded to the questionnaire (75.5% response rate). Only 35.1% of nurses indicated their intent to stay in their current job over the coming one to three years. Surveyed nurses were most satisfied with relationship with co-workers and least satisfied with extrinsic rewards. Rural nurses working in PHC centers were more satisfied than their hospital counterparts on all aspects of work and had significantly higher intention to stay (62.5% compared to 31.5% in hospitals, P < 0.001). Regression analysis revealed that nurses less likely to report intent to stay were younger, unmarried, with less years of work experience and were not working towards a higher degree. Analysis reveals a directly proportional relationship between nurses’ reported job satisfaction and their intent to stay.
This study reveals poor retention of nurses in rural and underserved areas in Lebanon, especially in the hospital sector. The status quo is disquieting as it reflects an unstable and dissatisfied nursing workforce. Developing targeted retention strategies for younger nurses and those working in hospitals as well as the offering of professional development opportunities and devising an incentive scheme targeting rural nurses is pivotal to enhance nurses’ job satisfaction and retention in rural settings.
Nurses; Retention; Underserved areas; Hospital; Primary health care; Lebanon; Rural; Human resources for health
Health care organizations globally realize the need to address physician burnout due to its close linkages with quality of care, retention and migration. The many functions of health human resources include identifying and managing burnout risk factors for health professionals, while also promoting effective coping. Our study of physician burnout aims to show: (1) which correlates are most strongly associated with emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP), and (2) whether the associations vary across regions and specialties.
Meta-analysis allowed us to examine a diverse range of correlates. Our search yielded 65 samples of physicians from various regions and specialties.
EE was negatively associated with autonomy, positive work attitudes, and quality and safety culture. It was positively associated with workload, constraining organizational structure, incivility/conflicts/violence, low quality and safety standards, negative work attitudes, work-life conflict, and contributors to poor mental health. We found a similar but weaker pattern of associations for DP.
Physicians in the Americas experienced lower EE levels than physicians in Europe when quality and safety culture and career development opportunities were both strong, and when they used problem-focused coping. The former experienced higher EE levels when work-life conflict was strong and they used ineffective coping. Physicians in Europe experienced lower EE levels than physicians in the Americas with positive work attitudes. We found a similar but weaker pattern of associations for DP.
Outpatient specialties experienced higher EE levels than inpatient specialties when organization structures were constraining and contributors to poor mental health were present. The former experienced lower EE levels when autonomy was present. Inpatient specialties experienced lower EE levels than outpatient specialties with positive work attitudes. As above, we found a similar but weaker pattern of associations for DP.
Although we could not infer causality, our findings suggest: (1) that EE represents the core burnout dimension; (2) that certain individual and organizational-level correlates are associated with reduced physician burnout; (3) the benefits of directing resources where they are most needed to physicians of different regions and specialties; and (4) a call for research to link physician burnout with performance.
Physician burnout; Work engagement; Health and safety; Mental and physical well-being; Coping strategies; Health behaviors
Comprehensive policies for rural retention of medical doctor and other health professional, including education strategy and mandatory service, have been implemented in Thailand since the 1970s. This study compared the rural attitudes, intention to fulfil mandatory rural service and competencies between medical graduates’ from two modes of admission, normal and special tracks.
Three cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire surveys were conducted in April 2010, 2011 and 2012. The questionnaire was distributed to all new medical graduates in the annual Ministry of Public Health meeting to allocate workplaces for the 3-year mandatory service.
The majority of students were recruited through the normal track (56 to 77%) from medical schools in Bangkok (56 to 66%), having mostly attended secondary schools in Bangkok. A majority of special track graduates came from secondary schools in provincial cities (76 to 79%). All three batches came from well-educated parents.
A slight difference in rural attitudes was observed between tracks. Univariable analysis found statistical associations between the intention to fulfil the 3-year obligation and special track recruitment and attributes on rural exposure. Multivariable analysis showed that graduates recruited through the special track had a 10 to 15% higher probability of fulfilling the mandatory service.
Special track graduates scored higher on four out of five competencies, notably procedural skills, but normal track graduates had higher competency on clinical knowledge in major clinical subjects.
Since special track recruitment resulted in a higher probability of fulfilling mandatory service and competency, increasing the proportion of special track recruitment and improving the effectiveness of policies addressing physician shortage were recommended.
Physicians; Medical graduate; Medical education; Supply and distribution; Professional competence; Attitude of health personnel
The last decade has seen widespread retreat from user fees with the intention to reduce financial constraints to users in accessing health care and in particular improving access to reproductive, maternal and newborn health services. This has had important benefits in reducing financial barriers to access in a number of settings. If the policies work as intended, service utilization rates increase. However this increases workloads for health staff and at the same time, the loss of user fee revenues can imply that health workers lose bonuses or allowances, or that it becomes more difficult to ensure uninterrupted supplies of health care inputs.
This research aimed to assess how policies reducing demand-side barriers to access to health care have affected service delivery with a particular focus on human resources for health.
We undertook case studies in five countries (Ghana, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In each we reviewed financing and HRH policies, considered the impact financing policy change had made on health service utilization rates, analysed the distribution of health staff and their actual and potential workloads, and compared remuneration terms in the public sectors.
We question a number of common assumptions about the financing and human resource inter-relationships. The impact of fee removal on utilization levels is mostly not sustained or supported by all the evidence. Shortages of human resources for health at the national level are not universal; maldistribution within countries is the greater problem. Low salaries are not universal; most of the countries pay health workers well by national benchmarks.
The interconnectedness between user fee policy and HRH situations proves difficult to assess. Many policies have been changing over the relevant period, some clearly and others possibly in response to problems identified associated with financing policy change. Other relevant variables have also changed.
However, as is now well-recognised in the user fee literature, co-ordination of health financing and human resource policies is essential. This appears less well recognised in the human resources literature. This coordination involves considering user charges, resource availability at health facility level, health worker pay, terms and conditions, and recruitment in tandem. All these policies need to be effectively monitored in their processes as well as outcomes, but sufficient data are not collected for this purpose.
User fees; Human resources for health; Policy co-ordination; Distribution; Workload; Pay