Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis

Article excerpt

2. Human resources for health: overcoming the crisis By the Joint Learning Initiative. Published by Harvard University Press, Boston 2004. Paperback 216pp. Price £9.95 ISBN 09741108-7-6

The focus of this book is an analysis of the global health workforce estimated at 100 million, plus three times that number of informal, traditional, community and allied workers.

The Joint Learning Initiative is a consortium of more than 100 health leaders who met between 2002 and 2004 in various locations with sub-groups producing reports and working papers. This seminal report proposes that mobilisation and strengthening of human resources for health, neglected yet critical, is central to combating health crises in some of the world's poorest countries and for building global sustainable health systems.

Worker shortage, skill mix imbalance, maldistribution, negative work environments and weak knowledge bases confront nearly all countries. A recent survey in Bangladesh found staff absence of between 40% and 70%, and ghost workers may be found on the payroll as part of endemic corruption. Sub-Saharan Africa, which in many cases has fewer workers than 40 years ago, needs to triple their workforce by adding a million more if they are to meet the Millennium Development Goals. …

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