Springer Search: "human resources for health"
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence, perpetrators and factors associated with workplace violence against nurses in public secondary health care facilities from two health regions in the Gambia.Methods
Data was collected from 219 nurses using self-administered questionnaire and 35 face-to-face interviews. The data collection was conducted between July and September 2014 in 14 public secondary health care facilities.Results
A sizable majority of respondents (62.1%) reported exposure to violence in the 12 months prior to the survey; exposure to verbal abuse, physical violence, and sexual harassment was 59.8%, 17.2%, and 10% respectively. The perpetrators were mostly patients’ escorts/relatives followed by patients themselves. Perceived reasons of workplace violence were mainly attributed to nurse-client disagreement, understaffing, shortage of drugs and supplies, security vacuum, and lack of management attention to workplace violence.Conclusions
Nurses in the Gambia are at a relatively high risk of violent incidents at work. Policies and strategies that are sensitive to local circumstances and needs should be developed for the prevention of workplace violence.
Economic evidence relating to tobacco control is generally derived from the cost effectiveness of smoking-cessation programs or the economic impact of tobacco-induced disease, based on revealed-preference data. However, empirical estimates from stated-preference data on tobacco users’ preferences, smoking behaviour and smoking cessation aids using analytical techniques such as discrete-choice experiments (DCEs) could be important for policy decision making in tobacco control.Objectives
Our objective was to review the practice and utility of DCE methodology across nicotine- and tobacco-related issues, particularly smoking and smoking-cessation behaviour, anti-smoking policies and preferences for smoking-cessation aids.Methods
We searched the PubMed, MEDLINE and ECONLIT databases for full-text original research articles on tobacco-related issues published between January 2000 and April 2016 that used a DCE method. We summarised the evidence and methodological characteristics of DCEs according to Lancsar and Louviere, 2008.Results
Our review of the 12 eligible studies showed that DCE methodology was used to elicit smoker preferences and to evaluate tobacco-control policies. The majority of the studies were published in the last 5 years. The areas of application were smoking cessation, smoking behaviour, electronic cigarette use, water-pipe smoking and tobacco packaging. Monetary attributes were the most influential attributes in all studies. The design of the DCEs varied.Conclusion
DCE studies of tobacco-related issues were methodologically consistent with guidelines proposed for conducting health-related DCEs.
Although the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is comparatively small landlocked country with patterns of both in- and out-migration, its human migration situation has been poorly studied. This is despite all of the country’s 18 provinces sharing both official and unofficial border checkpoints with neighboring countries. Economic reforms in the last decade have seen a gradual increase in the promotion of foreign investment, and main towns and transportation networks have been expanding thus offering new opportunities for livelihoods and economic activities.
In the last decade, there has also been a significant reduction of reported malaria cases in Lao PDR and while this is an important prerequisite for eliminating malaria in the country, malaria outbreaks reported in the last four years suggest that population mobility, particularly in the south, is an important factor challenging current control efforts.
Bolder investment in social sector spending should be geared towards improving health service provision and utilization, ensuring equitable access to primary health care (including malaria) through efforts to achieve universal health coverage targets. This should be extended to populations that are mobile and migrants. The local government plays a critical role in supporting policy and enforcement issues related to private sector project development in the provinces. Cross-border initiatives with neighboring countries, especially in terms of data sharing, surveillance, and response, is essential. Mechanisms to engage the private sector, especially the informal private sector, needs to be explored within the context of existing regulations and laws. Existing and new interventions for outdoor transmission of malaria, especially in forest settings, for high-risk groups including short- and long-term forest workers and their families, mobile and migrant populations, as well as the military must be combined into integrated packages with innovative delivery mechanisms through social marketing approaches. This should happen at multiple points in the mobility pathway and involve the private sector rather than being fully reliant on the national malaria vertical program
This article based on the review of existing literature from abstracts and full texts, includes published, peer-reviewed English language literature sourced through PubMed and grey literature sources through Google and Google Scholar. The review included also case reports, sector reports, conference proceedings, research reports, epidemiology studies, qualitative studies, and census reports in both Lao and English languages. The authors used the search terms: malaria and mobile populations, malaria control program and elimination, health system performance, malaria outbreak, Lao PDR; and included articles published until June 2015.
Predictors of job satisfaction among nurses working in Ethiopian public hospitals, 2014: institution-based cross-sectional study
Nurses play a pivotal role in determining the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of health care systems. Nurses’ job satisfaction plays an important role in the delivery of quality health care. There is paucity of studies addressing job satisfaction among nurses in the public hospital setting in Ethiopia. Thus, this study aimed to assess job satisfaction and factors influencing it among nurses in Jimma zone public hospitals, southwestern Ethiopia.Methods
An institution-based census was conducted among 316 nurses working in Jimma zone public hospitals from March to April, 2014. A structured self-administered questionnaire based on a modified version of the McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale was used. Data were entered using Epi Info version 3.5.3 statistical software and analyzed using SPSS version 20 statistical package. Mean satisfaction scores were compared by independent variables using an independent sample t test and ANOVA. Bivariate and multivariable linear regressions were done.Results
A total of 316 nurses were included, yielding a response rate of 92.67%. The overall mean job satisfaction was (67.43 ± 13.85). One third (33.5%) of the study participants had a low level of job satisfaction. Mutual understandings at work and professional commitment showed significant and positive relationship with overall job satisfaction, while working at an inpatient unit and work load were negatively associated.Conclusions
One third of nurses had a low level of job satisfaction. Professional commitment, workload, working unit, and mutual understanding at work predicted the outcome variable.
Long working hours in the healthcare system of the Belo Horizonte municipality, Brazil: a population-based cross-sectional survey
Health personnel are key players in developing and improving healthcare systems, caring for individuals and their communities, and helping improve quality of life. However, these professionals are often exposed to long working hours because of the pressing need for their services at potentially any time of day. The long working hours they endure are a major risk factor for both acute and chronic health problems. The present study aimed to analyze occurrences of long working hours and their association with individual characteristics and employment factors among workers in the municipal healthcare system in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.Methods
In this cross-sectional study, a ramdomly selected proportional sample of 1549 participants was analyzed from among the total of 13 602 workers in the Belo Horizonte municipal healthcare system in 2009. “Long” working hours were defined as >44 h/week. A self-administered questionnaire was used for accumulating data. Associations with outcomes were estimated using logistic regression, in univariate and multivariate models.Results
The rate of occurrence of long working hours was 31.4% (95% CI 29.1–33.7). Lower educational level (high school, technical, or uncompleted undergraduate [OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.47–0.78 p < 0.001], or elementary [OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.19–0.55 p < 0.001]) was associated with a lower likelihood of self-reporting long working hours in relation to the group with the highest educational level (completed undergraduate or postgraduate). Male sex (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.26–2.09 p < 0.001), having children (PR 1.54, 95% CI 1.20–1.97 p = 0.001), and being in the healthcare provider group (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.40–2.35 p < 0.001) were factors associated with greater likelihood of long working hours.Conclusions
It was observed that number of long weekly working hours was related to individual characteristics and employment factors.
Profile and professional expectations of medical students from 11 Latin American countries: the Red-LIRHUS project
Latin America is undergoing a human resource crisis in health care in terms of labor shortage, misdistribution and poor orientation to primary care. Workforce data are needed to inform the planning of long-term strategies to address this problem. This study aimed to evaluate the academic and motivational profile, as well as the professional expectations, of Latin American medical students.Results
We conducted an observational, cross-sectional, multi-country study evaluating medical students from 11 Spanish-speaking countries in 2011–2012. Motivations to study medicine, migration intentions, intent to enter postgraduate programs, and perceptions regarding primary care were evaluated via a self-administered questionnaire. Outcomes were measured with pilot-tested questions and previously validated scales. A total of 11,072 valid surveys from 63 medical schools were gathered and analyzed.Conclusions
This study describes the profile and expectations of the future workforce being trained in Latin America. The obtained information will be useful for governments and universities in planning strategies to improve their current state of affairs regarding human resources for health care professions.
Does task shifting yield cost savings and improve efficiency for health systems? A systematic review of evidence from low-income and middle-income countries
Task shifting has become an increasingly popular way to increase access to health services, especially in low-resource settings. Research has demonstrated that task shifting, including the use of community health workers (CHWs) to deliver care, can improve population health. This systematic review investigates whether task shifting in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) results in efficiency improvements by achieving cost savings.Methods
Using the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews, we searched PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and the Health Economic Evaluation Database on March 22, 2016. We included any original peer-review articles that demonstrated cost impact of a task shifting program in an LMIC.Results
We identified 794 articles, of which 34 were included in our study. We found that substantial evidence exists for achieving cost savings and efficiency improvements from task shifting activities related to tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and additional evidence exists for the potential to achieve cost savings from activities related to malaria, NCDs, NTDs, childhood illness, and other disease areas, especially at the primary health care and community levels.Conclusions
Task shifting presents a viable option for health system cost savings in LMICs. Going forward, program planners should carefully consider whether task shifting can improve population health and health systems efficiency in their countries, and researchers should investigate whether task shifting can also achieve cost savings for activities related to emerging global health priorities and health systems strengthening activities such as supply chain management or monitoring and evaluation.
Causes, consequences, and policy responses to the migration of health workers: key findings from India
This study sought to better understand the drivers of skilled health professional migration, its consequences, and the various strategies countries have employed to mitigate its negative impacts. The study was conducted in four countries—Jamaica, India, the Philippines, and South Africa—that have historically been “sources” of health workers migrating to other countries. The aim of this paper is to present the findings from the Indian portion of the study.Methods
Data were collected using surveys of Indian generalist and specialist physicians, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, dieticians, and other allied health therapists. We also conducted structured interviews with key stakeholders representing government ministries, professional associations, regional health authorities, health care facilities, and educational institutions. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression models. Qualitative data were analyzed thematically.Results
Shortages of health workers are evident in certain parts of India and in certain specialty areas, but the degree and nature of such shortages are difficult to determine due to the lack of evidence and health information. The relationship of such shortages to international migration is not clear. Policy responses to health worker migration are also similarly embedded in wider processes aimed at health workforce management, but overall, there is no clear policy agenda to manage health worker migration. Decision-makers in India present conflicting options about the need or desirability of curtailing migration.Conclusions
Consequences of health work migration on the Indian health care system are not easily discernable from other compounding factors. Research suggests that shortages of skilled health workers in India must be examined in relation to domestic policies on training, recruitment, and retention rather than viewed as a direct consequence of the international migration of health workers.
Training and deployment of medical doctors in Tanzania post-1990s health sector reforms: assessing the achievements
The shortage of a skilled health workforce is a global crisis. International efforts to combat the crisis have shown few benefits; therefore, more country-specific efforts are required. Tanzania adopted health sector reforms in the 1990s to ensure, among other things, availability of an adequate skilled health workforce. Little is documented on how the post-reform training and deployment of medical doctors (MDs) have contributed to resolving Tanzania’s shortage of doctors. The study aims to assess achievements in training and deployment of MDs in Tanzania about 20 years since the 1990s health sector reforms.Methods
We developed a human resource for health (HRH) conceptual model to study achievements in the training and deployment of MDs by using the concepts of supply and demand. We analysed secondary data to document the number of MDs trained in Tanzania and abroad, and the number of MDs recommended for the health sector from 1992 to 2011. A cross-sectional survey conducted in all regions of the country established the number of MDs available by 2011.Results
By 1992, Tanzania had 1265 MDs working in the country. From 1992 to 2010, 2622 MDs graduated both locally and abroad. This translates into 3887 MDs by 2011. Tanzania needs between 3326 and 5535 MDs. Our survey captured 1299 MDs working throughout the country. This number is less than 40% of all MDs trained in and needed for Tanzania by 2011. Maldistribution favouring big cities was evident; the eastern zone with less than 30% of the population hosts more than 50% of all MDs. No information was available on the more than 60% of MDs uncaptured by our survey.Conclusions
Two decades after the reforms, the number of MDs trained in Tanzania has increased sevenfold per year. Yet, the number and geographical distribution of MDs practicing in the country has remained the same as before the reforms. HRH planning should consider the three stages of health workforce development conceptualized under the demand and supply model. Auditing and improvement of the HRH database is highly recommended in dealing with Tanzania’s MD crisis.
Global trends in migration accompanied with recent changes to the immigrant selection process may have influenced the demographic and human capital characteristics of internationally educated nurses (IENs) in Canada and in turn the assistance required to facilitate their workforce integration. This study aimed to describe the demographic and human capital profile of IENs in Canada, to explore recent changes to the profile, and to identify predictors of IENs’ workforce integration.Methods
A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational survey design was used. Eligible IENs were immigrants, registered and employed as regulated nurses in Canada. Data were collected in 2014 via online and paper questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the data by year of immigration. Logistic regression modeling was employed to identify predictors of IENs’ workforce integration measured as passing the licensure exam to acquire professional recertification and securing employment.Results
The sample consisted of 2280 IENs, representative of all Canadian provincial jurisdictions. Since changes to the immigrant selection process in 2002, the IEN population in Canada has become more racially diverse with greater numbers emigrating from developing countries. Recent arrivals (after 2002) had high levels of human capital (knowledge, professional experience, language proficiency). Some, but not all, benefited from the formal and informal assistance available to facilitate their workforce integration. Professional experience and help studying significantly predicted if IENs passed the licensure exam on their first attempt. Bridging program participation and assistance from social networks in Canada were significant predictors if IENs had difficulty securing employment.Conclusions
Nurses will continue to migrate from a wide variety of countries throughout the world that have dissimilar nursing education and health systems. Thus, IENs are not a homogenous group, and a “one size fits all” model may not be effective for facilitating their professional recertification and employment in the destination country. Canada, as well as other countries, could consider using a case management approach to develop and tailor education and forms of assistance to meet the individual needs of IENs. Using technology to reach IENs who have not yet immigrated or have settled outside of urban centers are other potential strategies that may facilitate their timely entrance into the destination countries’ nursing workforce.
Modifications to ART service delivery models by health facilities in Uganda in promotion of intervention sustainability: a mixed methods study
In November 2015, WHO released new treatment guidelines recommending that all diagnosed as HIV positive be enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Sustaining and expanding ART scale-up programs in resource-limited settings will require adaptations and modifications to traditional ART delivery models to meet the rapid increase in demand. We identify modifications to ART service delivery models by health facilities in Uganda to sustain ART interventions over a 10-year period (2004–2014).Methods
A mixed methods approach involving two study phases was adopted. In the first phase, a survey of a nationally representative sample of health facilities (n = 195) in Uganda which were accredited to provide ART between 2004 and 2009 was conducted. The second phase involved semi-structured interviews (n = 18) with ART clinic managers of 6 of the 195 health facilities purposively selected from the first study phase. We adopted a thematic framework consisting of four categories of modifications (format, setting, personnel, and population).Results
The majority of health facilities 185 (95%) reported making modifications to ART interventions between 2004 and 2014. Of the 195 health facilities, 157 (81%) rated the modifications made to ART as “major.” Modifications to ART were reported under all the four themes. The quantitative and qualitative findings are integrated and presented under four themes. Format: Reducing the frequency of clinic appointments and pharmacy-only refill programs was identified as important strategies for decongesting ART clinics. Setting: Home-based care programs were introduced to reduce provider ART delivery costs. Personnel: Task shifting to non-physician cadre was reported in 181 (93%) of the health facilities. Population: Visits to the ART clinic were rationalized in favor of the sub-population deemed to have more clinical need. Two health facilities focused on patients living nearer the health facilities to align with targets set by external donors.Conclusions
Over the study period, health facilities made several modifications ART interventions to improve fit with their resource-constrained settings thereby promoting long-term sustainability. Further research evaluating the effect of these modifications on patient outcomes and ART delivery costs is recommended. Our findings have implications for the sustainability of ART scale-up programs in Uganda and other resource-limited settings.
Academic research productivity of post-graduate students at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda, from 1996 to 2010: a retrospective review
Research is a core business of universities globally, and is crucial in the scientific process as a precursor for knowledge uptake and use. We aimed to assess the academic productivity of post-graduate students in a university located in a low-income country.Methods
This is an observational retrospective documentary analysis using hand searching archives, Google Scholar and PubMed electronic databases. The setting is Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda. Records of post-graduate students (Masters) enrolled from 1996 to 2010, and followed to 2016 for outcomes were analysed. The outcome measures were publications (primary), citations, electronic dissertations found online or conference abstracts (secondary). Descriptive and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed using Stata 14.1.Results
We found dissertations of 1172 Masters students over the 20-year period of study. While half (590, 50%) had completed clinical graduate disciplines (surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology), Master of Public Health was the single most popular course, with 393 students (31%). Manuscripts from 209 dissertations (18%; 95% CI, 16–20%) were published and approximately the same proportion was cited (196, 17%; 95% CI, 15–19%). Very few (4%) policy-related documents (technical reports and guidelines) cited these dissertations. Variables that remained statistically significant in the multivariable model were students’ age at enrolment into the Masters programme (adjusted coefficient –0.12; 95% CI, –0.18 to –0.06; P < 0.001) and type of research design (adjusted coefficient 0.22; 0.03 to 0.40; P = 0.024). Cohort studies were more likely to be published compared to cross-sectional designs (adjusted coefficient 0.78; 95% CI, 0.2 to 1.36; P = 0.008).Conclusions
The productivity and use of post-graduate students’ research conducted at the College of Health Sciences Makerere University is considerably low in terms of peer-reviewed publications and citations in policy-related documents. The need for effective strategies to reverse this ‘waste’ is urgent if the College, decision-makers, funders and the Ugandan public are to enjoy the ‘return on investment’ from post-graduate students research.
The postpartum period is a crucial time to provide family planning counseling and can decrease incidence of adverse reproductive outcomes. The purpose of this study was to characterize patterns of postpartum contraception and to investigate long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) use among Somali women living in a metropolitan area of Minnesota in an effort to provide better family planning and reproductive health counseling in this growing immigrant population.Methods
A retrospective chart review was conducted of Somali women who delivered between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2014. Information was collected regarding family planning counseling provided and contraceptive methods chosen at the postpartum clinic visit.Results
Of the 747 Somali women who delivered during this time period, 56.4% had no postpartum follow up visit. At the postpartum visit, 88.3% of women received family planning counseling and 80.8% chose a contraceptive method with the remainder declining. The intrauterine device (IUD) was the most popular contraceptive method, chosen by 39.7% of women. Other than parity, no statistically significant differences were observed between women who chose LARC versus other contraceptive methods. Of the women that chose a LARC, 39.4% had it placed at the time of their postpartum visit; immediate placement was statistically significantly more likely with more recent delivery, lower BMI and obstetrician as the provider type.Conclusions
The IUD was the most popular method of postpartum contraception. There was a trend toward increase in LARC use with increasing parity. Same-day LARC placement was uncommon, but should be encouraged in this population given high loss to follow up rate.
An examination of the causes, consequences, and policy responses to the migration of highly trained health personnel from the Philippines: the high cost of living/leaving—a mixed method study
Dramatic increases in the migration of human resources for health (HRH) from developing countries like the Philippines can have consequences on the sustainability of health systems. In this paper, we trace the outflows of HRH from the Philippines, map out its key causes and consequences, and identify relevant policy responses.Methods
This mixed method study employed a decentered, comparative approach that involved three phases: (a) a scoping review on health workers’ migration of relevant policy documents and academic literature on health workers’ migration from the Philippines; and primary data collection with (b) 37 key stakeholders and (c) household surveys with seven doctors, 329 nurses, 66 midwives, and 18 physical therapists.Results
Filipino health worker migration is best understood within the context of macro-, meso-, and micro-level factors that are situated within the political, economic, and historical/colonial legacy of the country. Underfunding of the health system and un- or underemployment were push factors for migration, as were concerns for security in the Philippines, the ability to practice to full scope or to have opportunities for career advancement. The migration of health workers has both negative and positive consequences for the Philippine health system and its health workers. Stakeholders focused on issues such as on brain drain, gain, and circulation, and on opportunities for knowledge and technology transfer. Concomitantly, migration has resulted in the loss of investment in human capital. The gap in the supply of health workers has affected the quality of care delivered, especially in rural areas. The opening of overseas opportunities has commercialized health education, compromised its quality, and stripped the country of skilled learning facilitators. The social cost of migration has affected émigrés and their families. At the household level, migration has engendered increased consumerism and materialism and fostered dependency on overseas remittances. Addressing these gaps requires time and resources. At the same time, migration is, however, seen by some as an opportunity for professional growth and enhancement, and as a window for drafting more effective national and inter-country policy responses to HRH mobility.Conclusions
Unless socioeconomic conditions are improved and health professionals are provided with better incentives, staying in the Philippines will not be a viable option. The massive expansion in education and training designed specifically for outmigration creates a domestic supply of health workers who cannot be absorbed by a system that is underfunded. This results in a paradox of underservice, especially in rural and remote areas, at the same time as underemployment and outmigration. Policy responses to this paradox have not yet been appropriately aligned to capture the multilayered and complex nature of these intersecting phenomena.
The potential of health literacy to address the health related UN sustainable development goal 3 (SDG3) in Nepal: a rapid review
Health literacy has been linked to health outcomes across population groups around the world. Nepal, a low income country, experiences the double burden of highly prevalent communicable as well as non-communicable diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has positioned health literacy as a key mechanism to meet the health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3). However, there is little known about the status of health literacy in developing countries such as Nepal. This paper aims to review the potential of health literacy to address SDG3 in Nepal.Methods
A rapid review was conducted using the knowledge to action evidence summary approach. Articles included in the review were those reporting on barriers to health care engagements in Nepal published in English language between January 2000 and December 2015.Results
Barriers for healthcare engagement included knowledge and education as strong factors, followed by culture, gender roles, quality of service and cost of services. These barriers influence the Nepalese community to access and engage with services, and make and enact healthcare decisions, not only at the individual level but at the family level. These factors are directly linked to health literacy. Health literacy is a pivotal determinant of understanding, accessing and using health information and health services, it is important that the health literacy needs of the people be addressed.Conclusion
Locally identified and developed health literacy interventions may provide opportunities for systematic improvements in health to address impediments to healthcare in Nepal. Further research on health literacy and implementation of health literacy interventions may help reduce inequalities and increase the responsiveness of health systems which could potentially facilitate Nepal to meet the sustainable development goals. While there is currently little in place for health literacy to impact on the SDG3, this paper generates insights into health literacy’s potential role.
Current challenges in the management of sepsis in ICUs in resource-poor settings and suggestions for the future
Sepsis is a major reason for intensive care unit (ICU) admission, also in resource-poor settings. ICUs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face many challenges that could affect patient outcome.Aim
To describe differences between resource-poor and resource-rich settings regarding the epidemiology, pathophysiology, economics and research aspects of sepsis. We restricted this manuscript to the ICU setting even knowing that many sepsis patients in LMICs are treated outside an ICU.Findings
Although many bacterial pathogens causing sepsis in LMICs are similar to those in high-income countries, resistance patterns to antimicrobial drugs can be very different; in addition, causes of sepsis in LMICs often include tropical diseases in which direct damaging effects of pathogens and their products can sometimes be more important than the response of the host. There are substantial and persisting differences in ICU capacities around the world; not surprisingly the lowest capacities are found in LMICs, but with important heterogeneity within individual LMICs. Although many aspects of sepsis management developed in rich countries are applicable in LMICs, implementation requires strong consideration of cost implications and the important differences in resources.Conclusions
Addressing both disease-specific and setting-specific factors is important to improve performance of ICUs in LMICs. Although critical care for severe sepsis is likely cost-effective in LMIC setting, more detailed evaluation at both at a macro- and micro-economy level is necessary. Sepsis management in resource-limited settings is a largely unexplored frontier with important opportunities for research, training, and other initiatives for improvement.
Challenges and strategies to improve the availability and geographic accessibility of physicians in Portugal
Shortages of physicians in remote, rural and other underserved areas and lack of general practitioners limit access to health services. The aims of this article are to identify the challenges faced by policy and decision-makers in Portugal to guarantee the availability and geographic accessibility to physicians in the National Health Service and to describe and analyse their causes, the strategies to tackle them and their results. We also raise the issue of whether research evidence was used or not in the process of policy development.Methods
We analysed policy and technical documents, peer-reviewed papers and newspaper articles from 1995 to 2015 through a structured search of government websites, Portuguese online newspapers and PubMed and Virtual Health Library (Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde (BVS)) databases; key informants were consulted to validate and complement the documentary search.Results
The challenges faced by decision-makers to ensure access to physicians were identified as a forecasted shortage of physicians, geographical imbalances and maldistribution of physicians by level of care. To date, no human resources for health policy has been formulated, in spite of most documents reviewed stating that it is needed. On the other hand, various isolated and ad hoc strategies have been adopted, such as incentives to choose family health as a specialty or to work in an underserved region and recruitment of foreign physicians through bilateral agreements.Conclusions
Health workforce research in Portugal is scarce, and therefore, policy decisions regarding the availability and accessibility of physicians are not based on evidence. The policy interventions described in this paper should be evaluated, which would be a good starting point to inform health workforce policy development.
Our aims were to evaluate and to report the experiences of the surgical team of Doctors Worldwide (DWW) Turkey during their medical activities in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. In the context of a continuous program carried out between March 2012 and June 2013, 12 squads of the DWW Turkey Surgical Team visited Al-Shifa Hospital and performed surgical interventions in Mogadishu, Somalia. Outcomes obtained as results of all surgical practices, including the demographic data of the patients, the types of anesthesiological procedures, and the types of surgical interventions performed, were recorded and analyzed. Seven hundred eight surgical interventions were performed in 252 (35.6%) female and 456 (64.4%) male patients. Four hundred fifty-five (64.3%) cases were operated under general anesthesia. On the other hand, 164 (23.1%) patients were operated under spinal anesthesia, whereas 89 (12.6%) patients received local anesthesia. The most common first five preoperative diagnoses were inguinal hernia, cleft lip, goiter, cleft palate, and hydrocele. We conclude that, as an efficacious modality of treatment, surgery should be considered as one of the most important priorities when conducting humanitarian aid programs.
Evaluating the sub-national fidelity of national Initiatives in decentralized health systems: Integrated Primary Health Care Governance in Nigeria
Policy making, translation and implementation in politically and administratively decentralized systems can be challenging. Beyond the mere sub-national acceptance of national initiatives, adherence to policy implementation processes is often poor, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In this study, we explore the implementation fidelity of integrated PHC governance policy in Nigeria’s decentralized governance system and its implications on closing implementation gaps with respect to other top-down health policies and initiatives.Methods
Having engaged policy makers, we identified 9 core components of the policy (Governance, Legislation, Minimum Service Package, Repositioning, Systems Development, Operational Guidelines, Human Resources, Funding Structure, and Office Establishment). We evaluated the level and pattern of implementation at state level as compared to the national guidelines using a scorecard approach.Results
Contrary to national government’s assessment of level of compliance, we found that sub-national governments exercised significant discretion with respect to the implementation of core components of the policy. Whereas 35 and 32% of states fully met national criteria for the structural domains of “Office Establishment” and Legislation” respectively, no state was fully compliant to “Human Resource Management” and “Funding” requirements, which are more indicative of functionality. The pattern of implementation suggests that, rather than implementing to improve outcomes, state governments may be more interested in executing low hanging fruits in order to access national incentives.Conclusions
Our study highlights the importance of evaluating implementation fidelity in providing evidence of implementation gaps towards improving policy execution, particularly in decentralized health systems. This approach will help national policy makers identify more effective ways of supporting lower tiers of governance towards improvement of health systems and outcomes.
A final-year nursing student survey: rural attitudes, perceived competencies and intention to work across five Asian countries
Shortages and maldistribution of nurses remain significant problems in many countries. Having appropriate intervention strategies to retain nurses in underserved areas, where they are most needed, are crucial for health system strengthening. This study aimed to quantify attitudes to working in rural areas, perceived competencies, and intention to work among final-year nursing students, and to analyze the associations between those factors and their background characteristics across five countries in the Asia-Pacific Network for Health Professional Education Reforms (ANHER), namely Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.Methods
A descriptive comparative cross-sectional survey was conducted between July 2012 and July 2013, using a self-administered questionnaire to assess students’ attitudes towards working in rural areas, their perceived competencies, and their intended job choices. A total of 10,169 final-year nursing students in five countries were selected. Bivariate models were constructed to compare students’ characteristics. Statistically significant variables were further analyzed using multivariate models.Results
Most nursing students in five countries had rural backgrounds. Students in India (67.1%) and Thailand (65.1%) held more positive attitudes towards working in rural areas. Students in Bangladesh (78.8%) and India (62.6%) believed that their schools prepared them well, and inspired them, to work in rural areas. The ‘Lifelong learning’ competency was ranked highest by students in all five countries, ranging from 76.2 to 91.7%. Their perceived competencies were significantly related to their background of having graduated from rural high schools and being admitted to study through rural recruitment. Rural upbringing and rural recruitment were significantly associated with more positive attitudes towards rural areas (p-value < 0.5). A majority of students in China (83.8%), Thailand (67.7%) and Vietnam (86.5%) intended to work in the public sector immediately after graduation.Conclusions
These findings from five Asian countries confirm that nursing students with rural upbringing and recruitment had more positive attitudes toward rural areas and were more likely to choose working in rural areas after graduation. This study provides additional evidence from country implementation to support the value of WHO recommendations of effective strategies to address issues of rural retention by focusing on the recruitment of students with a rural background.