Online Program

Collecting dust on the shelf: How can we ensure human resources for health strategic plans get implemented?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Sarah Dominis, MPH, MBA, MGM, International Health Division, Abt Associates Inc., Bethesda, MD
John GH Palen, PhD, MPH, PA, International Health Division, Abt Associates Inc., Bethesda, MD
Jordan Tuchman, MPH, International Health Department, Abt Associates, Inc, Bethesda, MD
The development of strategic plans is encouraged for strengthened health governance in low- and middle-income countries. Detailed strategic plans specific to human resources for health (HRH) are critical to the development and retention of the health workforce to meet population health needs. The USAID-funded Health Systems 20/20 Project assessed 21 countries to determine whether they had a HRH policy or strategic plan that outlined goals and priorities for the health workforce, and what the level of implementation was. Using these findings, we piloted a process for strengthening the implementation of HRH strategic plans in Lesotho. In ten of the 21 countries examined, HRH strategic plans existed, and outlined a rationalized process for health workforce training, recruitment, and deployment. However, every country reported key elements of the strategies languished unimplemented. Lesotho had a five-year HRH strategic plan, retention plan, and nursing sector plan. As with most country strategies assessed, Lesotho's plans were ambitious, with limited detail on specific activities and associated costs. With the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Human Resources Alliance for Africa, we piloted a standardized process for translating strategic plans into realistic implementation plans. Stakeholders were led through a structured prioritization exercise to develop a shortened list of priority strategies and corresponding implementation activities. MOH staff was trained to establish detailed cost estimates for all activities, and the detailed, costed priorities were successfully used to mobilize resources for implementation. Findings from the assessment and pilot will assist countries seeking to increase the implementation of HRH strategic plans.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify common weaknesses in human resources for health strategic plans. List the common challenges to developing and implementing human resources for health strategic plans. Describe a standardized process for prioritizing, costing and mobilizing resources to support increased implementation of strategic plans. Identify lessons learned in Lesotho for use in strengthening national HRH strategic plans.

Keyword(s): International Health, Health Care Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a human resources for health specialist, with ten years experience in HRH policy development and planning, pre-service and in-service education, HIV and other infectious diseases. I lead the assessment of 21 country assessments to determine strengths and weaknesses in HRH strategic plan implementation, and conducted a pilot in Lesotho to translate their HRH strategic plan into a costed implementation plan.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.