Human resources for health

Governance and planning

A well-functioning governance infrastructure is essential for developing a health workforce. Government and non-government stakeholders contribute to the creation of a stable and sustainable workforce by engaging in dialogue on health workforce assessment, policy development, planning and monitoring.

Shortages of skilled health workers, unbalanced distribution of workers and inefficient skill-mix all need to be addressed, as do training and education not matched to patient and population needs and poor motivation and retention in most lesser-resourced countries.

The continued shortage of skilled health workers in remote and rural areas impedes access to health-care services for a significant percentage of the population and impedes progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Human resources for health policies and plans still require strong political commitment and sustained financial investments to support workforce scaling up, particularly in terms of employment costs and pre-service education.

WHO’s Human Resources for Health Action Framework for the Western Pacific Region (2011-2015) addresses common priority workforce challenges across countries, recognizing the necessity of policies and strategic interventions specific to each country context.

WPRO also respond to governance challenges through:

  • Strengthening governance capacities to address health workforce challenges
  • Facilitating multi-stakeholder policy dialogue
  • Improving the health workforce information and evidence base
  • Providing tools and technical cooperation to develop health workforce policies, strategies and plans
  • Supporting improvement of legislative and regulatory frameworks for the health workforce