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The Human Resources for Health Effort Index: a tool to assess and inform Strategic Health Workforce Investments.

Hum Resour Health; 15(1): 47, 2017 Jul 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28724381


Despite its importance, the field of human resources for health (HRH) has lagged in developing methods to measure its status and progress in low- and middle-income countries suffering a workforce crisis. Measures of professional health worker densities and distribution are purely numerical, unreliable, and do not represent the full spectrum of workers providing health services. To provide more information on the multi-dimensional characteristics of human resources for health, in 2013-2014, the global USAID-funded CapacityPlus project, led by IntraHealth International, developed and tested a 79-item HRH Effort Index modeled after the widely used Family Planning Effort Index.


The index includes seven recognized HRH dimensions: Leadership and Advocacy; Policy and Governance; Finance; Education and Training; Recruitment, Distribution, and Retention; Human Resources Management; and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Information Systems. Each item is scored from 1 to 10 and scores are averaged with equal weights for each dimension and overall. The questionnaire is applied to knowledgeable informants from public, nongovernmental organization, and private sectors in each country. A pilot test among 49 respondents in Kenya and Nigeria provided useful information to improve, combine, and streamline questions. CapacityPlus applied the revised 50-item questionnaire in 2015 in Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Mali, among 92 respondents. Additionally, the index was applied subnationally in the Dominican Republic (16 respondents) and in a consensus-building meeting in Mali (43 respondents) after the national application.


The results revealed a range of scores between 3.7 and 6.2 across dimensions, for overall scores between 4.8 and 5.5. Dimensions with lower scores included Recruitment, Distribution, and Retention, while Leadership and Advocacy had higher scores.


The tool proved to be well understood and provided key qualitative information on the health workforce to assist in health systems strengthening. It is expected that subsequent applications should provide more information for comparison purposes, to refine aspects of the questionnaire and to correlate scores with measures of service outputs and outcomes.