Subject Guide: Human Resources for Health Planning

Health workers in Geda Health Center

Developing a workforce plan is a key component of national-level human resources for health (HRH) strategic planning. This enables senior managers to view and analyze human resources data routinely, determine relevant policy questions and institute policies that ensure adequate numbers of staff with appropriate skills are available where and when they are needed. In some instances, a workforce plan may aim to reduce certain groups of staff, perhaps for financial savings; however, most plans seek to increase the number of workers, especially in those countries with severe staffing shortages.[1] The number of health workers employed is one indicator of a country’s ability to meet the health care needs of its people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Resource-constrained countries committed to the Millennium Development Goals may find that shortages and uneven distribution of health workers threaten their capacity to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as the resurgence of tuberculosis and malaria.[2]

Addressing the Issue

The HRH Global Resource Center provides materials to assist with HRH strategic and ethical planning. Resources include information on the financial aspects of HRH planning, as well as useful materials on workforce assessment and advocacy.

Recommended reading:

[1]Capacity Project. Workforce Planning for the Health Sector technical brief. Accessed on October 27, 2008.

[2]Capacity Project. Retention of Health Care Workers in Low-Resource Settings: Challenges and Responses technical brief. Accessed on October 27, 2008.