Building global capacity for COVID-19 vaccination through interactive virtual learning

Abstract Background

To support the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization and its partners developed an interactive virtual learning initiative through which vaccination stakeholders could receive the latest guidance, ask questions, and share their experiences. This initiative, implemented between 9 February 2021 and 15 June 2021, included virtual engagement between technical experts and participants during a 15-session interactive webinar series as well as web and text-messaging discussions in English and French.

Methods

This article uses a mixed-methods approach to analyze survey data collected following each webinar and a post-series survey conducted after the series had concluded. Participant data were tracked for each session, and feedback surveys were conducted after each session to gauge experience quality and content usability. Chi-square tests were used to compare results across professions (health workers, public health practitioners, and others).

Results

The COVID-19 Vaccination: Building Global Capacity webinar series reached participants in 179 countries or 93% of the WHO Member States; 75% of participants were from low- and middle-income countries. More than 60% of participants reported using the resources provided during the sessions, and 47% reported sharing these resources with colleagues. More than 79% of participants stated that this initiative significantly improved their confidence in preparing for and rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations; an additional 20% stated that the initiative “somewhat” improved their confidence. In the post-series survey, 70% of participants reported that they will “definitely use” the knowledge derived from this learning series in their work; an additional 20% will “probably use” and 9% would “possibly use” this knowledge in their work.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 Vaccination: Building Global Capacity learning initiative used a digital model of dynamic, interactive learning at scale. The initiative enhanced WHO’s ability to disseminate knowledge, provide normative guidance, and share best practices to COVID-19 vaccination stakeholders in real time. This approach allowed WHO to hear the information needs of stakeholders and respond by developing guidance, tools, and training to support COVID-19 vaccine introduction. WHO and its partners can learn from this capacity-building experience and apply best practices for digital interactive learning to other health programs moving forward.

Categorías: Investigaciones

“At the mercy of some of the regulations”: the impact of the residency match and return of service requirement on the early-career decisions of international medical graduates in Canada

Abstract Background

Return-of-service (ROS) agreements require international medical graduates (IMGs) who accept medical residency positions in Canada to practice in specified geographic areas following completion of training. However, few studies have examined how ROS agreements influence career decisions. We examined IMG resident and early-career family physicians’ perceptions of the residency matching process, ROS requirements, and how these factors shaped their early career decisions.

Methods

As part of a larger project, we conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with early-career family physicians and family medicine residents in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. We asked participants about their actual or intended practice characteristics (e.g., payment model, practice location) and factors shaping actual or intended practice (e.g., personal/professional influences, training experiences, policy environments). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and a thematic analysis approach was employed to identify recurring patterns and themes.

Results

For this study, we examined interview data from nine residents and 15 early-career physicians with ROS agreements. We identified three themes: IMGs strategically chose family medicine to increase the likelihood of obtaining a residency position; ROS agreements limited career choices; and ROS agreements delayed preferred practice choice (e.g., scope of practice and location) of an IMGs’ early-career practice.

Conclusions

The obligatory nature of ROS agreements influences IMG early-career choices, as they necessitate strategically tailoring practice intentions towards available residency positions. Existing analyses of IMGs’ early-career practice choices neglect to distinguish between ROS and practice choices made independently of ROS requirements. Further research is needed to understand how ROS influences longer term practice patterns of IMGs in Canada.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Job performance in healthcare: a systematic review

Abstract Background

Healthcare organisations face major challenges to keep healthcare accessible and affordable. This requires them to transform and improve their performance. To do so, organisations must influence employee job performance. Therefore, it is necessary to know what the key dimensions of job performance in healthcare are and how these dimensions can be improved. This study has three aims. The first aim is to determine what key dimensions of job performance are discussed in the healthcare literature. The second aim is to determine to which professionals and healthcare organisations these dimensions of job performance pertain. The third aim is to identify factors that organisations can use to affect the dimensions of job performance in healthcare.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. The authors searched Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Books, which resulted in the identification of 763 records. After screening 92 articles were included.

Results

The dimensions – task, contextual, and adaptative performance and counterproductive work behaviour – are reflected in the literature on job performance in healthcare. Adaptive performance and counterproductive work behaviour appear to be under-researched. The studies were conducted in different healthcare organisations and pertain to a variety of healthcare professionals. Organisations can affect job performance on the macro-, meso-, and micro-level to achieve transformation and improvement.

Conclusion

Based on more than 90 studies published in over 70 journals, the authors conclude that job performance in healthcare can be conceptualised into four dimensions: task, contextual and adaptive performance, and counterproductive work behaviour. Generally, these dimensions correspond with the dimensions discussed in the job performance literature. This implies that these dimensions can be used for further research into job performance in healthcare. Many healthcare studies on job performance focus on two dimensions: task and contextual performance. However, adaptive performance, which is of great importance in constantly changing environments, is under-researched and should be examined further in future research. This also applies to counterproductive work behaviour. To improve job performance, interventions are required on the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels, which relate to governance, leadership, and individual skills and characteristics.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Trend and projection of skilled birth attendants and institutional delivery coverage for adolescents in 54 low- and middle-income countries, 2000–2030

Abstract Background

Limitations to accessing delivery care services increase the risks of adverse outcomes during pregnancy and delivery for all pregnant women, particularly among adolescents in LMICs. In order to inform adolescent-specific delivery care initiatives and coverage, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of trends, projections and inequalities in coverage of delivery care services among adolescents at national, urban-rural and socio-economic levels in LMICs.

Methods

Using 224 nationally representative cross-sectional survey data between 2000 and 2019, we estimated the coverage of institutional delivery (INSD) and skilled birth attendants (SBA). Bayesian hierarchical regression models were used to estimate trends, projections and determinants of INSD and SBA.

Results

Coverage of delivery care services among adolescents increased substantially at the national level, as well as in both urban and rural areas in most countries between 2000 and 2018. Of the 54 LMICs, 24 countries reached 80% coverage of both INSD and SBA in 2018, and predictions for 40 countries are set to exceed 80% by 2030. The trends in coverage of INSD and SBA of adult mothers mostly align with those for adolescent mothers. Our findings show that urban-rural and wealth-based inequalities to delivery care remain persistent by 2030. In 2018, urban settings across 54 countries had higher rates of coverage exceeding 80% compared to rural for both INSD (45 urban, 16 rural) and SBA (50 urban, 19 rural). Several factors such as household head age ≥ 46 years, household head being female, access to mass media, lower parity, higher education, higher ANC visits and higher socio-economic status could increase the coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescents and adult women.

Conclusions

More than three-quarters of the LMICs are predicted to achieve 80% coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescent mothers in 2030, although with sustained inequalities.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Applying WHO COVID-19 workforce estimate tools remotely in an African context: a case report from Mali and Kenya.

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems already struggle. To meet health workforce planning needs during the pandemic, IntraHealth International used two tools created by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The Health Workforce Estimator (HWFE) allows the estimation of the quantity of health workers needed to treat patients during a surge, and the Adaptt Surge Planning Support Tool helps to predict the timing of a surge in cases and the number of health workers and beds needed for predicted caseload. These tools were adapted to fit the African context in a rapid implementation over 5 weeks in one region in Mali and one region in Kenya with the objective to test the feasibility of adapting these tools, which use a Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN)-inspired human resources management methodology, to obtain daily and surge projections of COVID-19 human resources for health needs. CASE PRESENTATION: Using a remote team in the US and in-country teams in Mali and Kenya, IntraHealth enacted a phased plan to gather stakeholder support, collect data related to health systems and COVID-19 cases, populate data into the tools, verify modeled results with results on the ground, enact policy measures to meet projected needs, and conduct national training workshops for the ministries of health. CONCLUSIONS: This phased implementation in Mali and Kenya demonstrated that the WISN approach applied to the Health Workforce Estimator and Adaptt tools can be readily adapted to the local context for African countries to rapidly estimate the number of health workers and beds needed to respond to the predicted COVID-19 pandemic caseload. The results may also be used to give a proxy estimate for needed health supplies-e.g., oxygen, medications, and ventilators. Challenges included accurate and timely data collection and updating data. The success of the pilot can be attributed to the adapted WHO tools, the team composition in both countries, access to human resources data, and early support of the ministries of health, with the expectation that this methodology can be applied to other country contexts.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Assessing the staffing needs for primary health care centers in Cross River State, Nigeria: a workload indicators of staffing needs study.

BACKGROUND: A major human resources for health challenge for Nigeria is ensuring the availability and retention of adequate competent health workers in the right mix to provide health care particularly at primary health care facilities in remote and rural communities. This study applied the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method to determine the numbers of nurses, midwives, community health officers (CHOs), community health extension workers (CHEWs), and junior community health extension workers (JCHEWs) required to cope with health care service delivery at primary health care facilities in Cross River State; compare workloads of different cadres at selected health facilities, and identify facilities with highest workload pressure. METHODS: Cross River State in Nigeria has 18 local governments, 196 wards, and an estimated population of over three million people. We used the WISN method to estimate the numbers of nurses/midwives, CHOs/CHEWs, and JCHEWs required to cope with the workload in the 196 ward-level primary health care facilities. FINDINGS: Basic services provided by nurses/midwives, and CHOs/CHEWs were typical of the primary health care level. They are antenatal care, routine immunization, child welfare clinic, family planning, treatment of minor ailments, assisted and normal deliveries, postnatal care, emergencies, care of tuberculosis patients, and referrals. Findings show that available nurses/midwives for the 196 PHC facilities were 79, and the calculated requirement was 209, WISN ratio of 0.4 and difference of - 130; the existing number of CHOs/CHEWs was 808, the calculated requirement was 1,258, WISN ratio of 0.6, with a difference of - 450; and the number of existing JCHEWs was 258, the calculated requirement was 203, WISN ratio of 1.3 with a difference of 55. Cross River State had only 40% of required nurses and midwives; and 60% of CHOs/ CHEWs needed to provide health services in the ward-level PHC facilities. CONCLUSION: The findings from this study indicated marked shortages of needed health workforce particularly nurses and midwives at the primary level of care; and overlap in some of the tasks performed by nurses/midwives, CHO/CHEWs, and JCHEWs.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Estimating staffing requirements using workload indicators of staffing need at Braun District Hospital in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

BACKGROUND: Papua New Guinea has seen some improvements in health indicators over the past years, but the pace of improvements is not as robust as expected. The Health Services Plan for Braun District Hospital redevelopment identified the importance of reflecting the hospital's role in the broader health system, particularly in upgrading the services to service a bigger population. In August 2020, the hospital was upgraded from a health centre-level 3 to a district hospital level 4. The need for assessing human resources for health requirements for this level of care was thus necessary. METHODS: The National Department of Health approved the use of the workload indicators of staffing need as the best tool to support in estimating staff requirements for the newly upgraded hospital. The focus was on clinical and non-clinical staff. Using already developed workload components and activity standards by the expert working groups for level 4 facilities, we visited the facility and collected data through interviews with the Lutheran Health Services representative, hospital management and staff. The technical task force reviewed daily registers, monthly reports and the data in the electronic national health information systems. The information collected was analysed using the workload indicators of staffing need software and interpreted. RESULTS: There were staffing shortages among the clinical staff like the medical officers, nursing officers, health extension officers, pharmacists, radiology staff unit and in the laboratory staff. Shortages among the non-clinical staff were recorded by the cashiers, security officers, drivers and boat skippers. The results showed that the facility lacks a medical laboratory technologist, pharmacists and a medical imaging technologist. The community health workers in this facility are utilized in all the areas where shortages are registered to multitask. CONCLUSION: The results from this WISN study provide evidence for basing staffing decisions on. The WISN results from Braun District Hospital show that the facility requires a total of 33 inpatient nurses against the existing 21 inpatient nurses thus giving a staff gap of - 12 and a WISN ratio of 0.67. It is thus recommended that the hospital management prioritizes recruitment of nurses or if no resources, reassign one of the outpatient nurses to alleviate the pressure among the inpatient nurses or the extra theatre nurses to offer some services in the inpatient wards. WISN results can help managers make decisions such as change of health facility status from a health centre to a district hospital.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Determining staffing standards for primary care services using workload indicators of staffing needs in the Philippines.

BACKGROUND: Health services cannot be delivered without an adequate, competent health workforce. Evidence suggests a direct relationship between density of health workforce and health outcomes. The Philippines is faced with health workforce challenges including shortages, inequitable distribution and inadequate skill mix which hinder health service delivery. Evidence-based workforce planning is, therefore, critical to achieve universal health care. METHODS: The Philippines adopted the World Health Organization's workload indicators of staffing need methodology. Using a multistage sampling method, nine regions with poor health indicators in tuberculosis, family planning, and maternal child health were identified. Physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical technologists were prioritized in the study from 89 primary care health facilities (barangay health stations, rural health units, and city health offices). Data was collected using in-depth interviews, document reviews, observations, and field visits. The workload indicators of staffing need software were used for data analysis to determine staffing requirements and analyse workforce pressure. RESULTS: The study showed varied results in terms of staffing requirements and workload pressure across cadres and facility types. Some health facilities exhibited staff shortages and high workload pressure. Out of the 40 rural health units and city health offices, only three had the required physicians needed and 22 facilities had a shortage of physicians working under high workload pressure. Other facilities had excess staff compared to the calculated requirements. Nurses at the rural health units showed high workload pressure. Ten rural health units had no medical technologists. Midwives at barangay health stations exhibited extremely low workload pressures. CONCLUSION: The study identifies the need for the Philippine Health System, both through the Department of Health and the local governments to efficiently optimize the available health workers by revising the services offered at the primary health care facilities. The results provide evidence for staffing requirements at various levels of care based on workloads, scope of practice and time taken to undertake specific tasks at the barangay health stations, rural health units and city health offices to be integrated into the human resources for health management systems.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Adopting workload-based staffing norms at public sector health facilities in Bangladesh: evidence from two districts.

BACKGROUND: Bangladesh's Health system is characterized by severe shortage and unequitable distribution of the formally trained health workforce. In this context, government of Bangladesh uses fixed staffing norms for its health facilities. These norms do not always reflect the actual requirement in reality. This study was conducted in public sector health facilities in two selected districts to assess the existing staffing norms with the purpose of adopting better norms and a more efficient utilization of the existing workforce. METHODS: To carry out this assessment, WHO's Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method was applied. Selection of the two districts out of 64 and a total of 24 health facilities were made in consultation with the formally established steering committee of the Ministry of Health. Health facilities, which were performing well in serving the patients during 2016-2017, were selected. This assessment examined staffing requirement of 20 staff categories. RESULTS: Based on the computer-generated WISN results, most of the staff categories were found to have a workload pressure of Very High (seven out of 20 staff categories), followed by Extremely High (five staff categories). Two staff categories had high, three had moderately high, two normal, and one low workload. Nurses were found to be predominantly occupied with support activities (50-60% of working time), instead of actual nursing care. Regarding vacancy, if all the vacant posts were filled, understandably, the workload would reduce, but not yet sufficient to meet the existing staff requirements such as consultants, general physicians and nurses at the district and sub-district/upazila-based hospitals. CONCLUSION: The existing staffing norms fall short of the WISN staffing requirement. The results provide evidence to prompt a revisit of the staffing policies and adopt workload-based norms. This can be supplemented by reviewing the scope of practice of the staff categories in their respective health facilities. In the short term, government might consider redistributing existing workforce as per workload. In the long term, revision of staffing norms is needed to provide quality health services for all.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Workforce problems at rural public health-centres in India: a WISN retrospective analysis and national-level modelling study.

BACKGROUND: Rural India has a severe shortage of human resources for health (HRH). The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) deploys HRH in the rural public health system to tackle shortages. Sanctioning under NRHM does not account for workload resulting in inadequate and inequitable HRH allocation. The Workforce Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) approach can identify shortages and inform appropriate sanctioning norms. India currently lacks nationally relevant WISN estimates. We used existing data and modelling techniques to synthesize such estimates. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of existing survey data for 93 facilities from 5 states over 8 years to create WISN calculations for HRH cadres at primary and community health centres (PHCs and CHCs) in rural areas. We modelled nationally representative average WISN-based requirements for specialist doctors at CHCs, general doctors and nurses at PHCs and CHCs. For 2019, we calculated national and state-level overall and per-centre WISN differences and ratios to depict shortage and workload pressure. We checked correlations between WISN ratios for cadres at a given centre-type to assess joint workload pressure. We evaluated the gaps between WISN-based requirements and sanctioned posts to investigate suboptimal sanctioning through concordance analysis and difference comparisons. RESULTS: In 2019, at the national-level, WISN differences depicted workforce shortages for all considered HRH cadres. WISN ratios showed that nurses at PHCs and CHCs, and all specialist doctors at CHCs had very high workload pressure. States with more workload on PHC-doctors also had more workload on PHC-nurses depicting an augmenting or compounding effect on workload pressure across cadres. A similar result was seen for CHC-specialist pairs-physicians and surgeons, physicians and paediatricians, and paediatricians and obstetricians-gynaecologists. We found poor concordance between current sanctioning norms and WISN-based requirements with all cadres facing under-sanctioning. We also present across-state variations in workforce problems, workload pressure and sanctioning problems. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the use of WISN calculations based on available data and modelling techniques for national-level estimation. Our findings suggest prioritising nurses and specialists in the rural public health system and updating the existing sanctioning norms based on workload assessments. Workload-based rural HRH deployment can ensure adequate availability and optimal distribution.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Transdisciplinarity of India’s master’s level public health programmes: evidence from admission criteria of the programmes offered since 1995

Abstract Introduction

In the Indian subcontinent, Master’s-level Public Health (MlPH) programmes attract graduates of diverse academic disciplines from health and non-health sciences alike. Considering the current and futuristic importance of the public health cadre, we described them and reviewed their transdisciplinarity status based on MlPH admissibility criteria 1995 to 2021.

Methods

Using a search strategy, we abstracted information available in the public domain on MlPH programmes and their admissibility criteria. We categorized the admission criteria based on specified disciplines into Health science, Non-health science and Non-health non-science categories. We described the MlPH programmes by location, type of institution, course duration, curriculum, pedagogical methods, specializations offered, and nature of admission criteria statements. We calculated descriptive statistics for eligible educational qualifications for MlPH admission.

Results

Overall, 76 Indian institutions (Medical colleges—21 and Non-medical coleges—55) offered 92 MlPH programmes (Private—58 and Public—34). We included 89 for review. These programmes represent a 51% increase (n = 47) from 2016 to 2021. They are mostly concentrated in 21 Indian provinces. These programmes stated that they admit candidates of but not limited to “graduation in any life sciences”, “3-year bachelor’s degree in any discipline”, “graduation from any Indian universities”, and “graduation in any discipline”. Among the health science disciplines, Modern medicine (n = 89; 100%), Occupational therapy (n = 57; 64%) is the least eligible. Among the non-health science disciplines, life sciences and behavioural sciences (n = 53; 59%) and non-health non-science disciplines, humanities and social sciences (n = 62; 72%) are the topmost eligible disciplines for admission in the MPH programmes.

Conclusion

Our review suggests that India’s MlPH programmes are less transdisciplinary. Relatively, non-medical institutions offer admission to various academic disciplines than the medical institutions in their MlPH programmes. India’s Master’s level public health programmes could be more inclusive by opening to graduates from trans-disciplinary backgrounds.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Online faculty development in low- and middle-income countries for health professions educators: a rapid realist review

Abstract Background

Health professions educators require support to develop teaching and learning, research, educational leadership, and administrative skills to strengthen their higher education role through faculty development initiatives. Where administration has pursued face-to-face and online faculty development initiatives, results have positively influenced health professions educators. There is limited evidence demonstrating how online faculty development works for health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries who engage in online health professions education (HPE) faculty development.

Methods

A Conjecture Map for online HPE faculty development courses identified candidate theories for a rapid realist review. The Conjecture Map and candidate theories, Community of Inquiry and the Conversational Framework guided the development of search terms and analysis for this review. Three searches using EbscoHost databases yielded 1030 abstracts. A primary and secondary research team participated in a multi-reviewer blinded process in assessing abstracts, selecting full-text articles, and data extraction. The primary research team analysed eight articles for this rapid realist review to answer the research question: How do online HPE faculty development courses work, or not work, in low- and middle-income countries? Data were analysed and mapped to the initial Conjecture Map and the research question.

Results

The research references US-based organisations forming partnerships with low- and middle-income countries, and who provide funding for online HPE faculty development initiatives. These initiatives design courses that facilitate learning through engagement from which participants report beneficial outcomes of professional and career development. The review does not clarify if the reported outcomes are generalisable for facilitators from low-and middle-income countries. The findings of this review demonstrate the role of a community of practice as the dominant mechanism through which the outcomes are achieved, based on a design that incorporates six triggering events. The design aligns the triggering events with the three categories of the Community of Inquiry—a theory for designing online learning environments.

Conclusion

Health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries can develop professional and interpersonal skills through a well-designed, specifically constructed online community that prioritises active discussion.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Informal payments for modern family planning methods at public facilities in Tanzania: room for improvement

Abstract Background

Financial access to family planning (FP) is essential to the health and well-being of women in Tanzania. Tanzanian policy dictates that FP methods and services obtained at public facilities are provided for free. However, public sector FP is no longer free when providers solicit informal payments. In this analysis, we investigate the prevalence and amount of informal payments for FP in Tanzania.

Methods

We used data from the 2015–2016 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey to investigate whether informal payments for FP had been effectively eliminated by this policy.

Results

We found that, at public sector facilities, the majority (84.6%) of women received their current FP method for free (95% confidence interval (CI): 81.9, 87.3), but this proportion varied meaningfully by facility and method type. Injectable contraception was the most commonly used method by women in the lowest wealth quintiles and was most frequently sought by these women from a government dispensary. One in four women (25.8%) seeking injectable contraception from government dispensaries reported paying a fee (95% CI: 19.5, 32.1). Among injectable users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was 1420 Tanzanian Shillings (TSh) and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 1930 (approximately 0.61 United States Dollars (USD) and 0.83 USD, respectively). Among implant users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was TSh 4127 and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 6194 (approximately 1.78 USD and 2.68 USD, respectively).

Conclusion

These findings suggest that the majority of women visiting public facilities in Tanzania did not pay informal payments for FP methods or services; however, informal payments at public facilities did occur, varying by facility and method type. Adherence to existing policies mandating free FP methods and services at public facilities, especially government dispensaries, is critical for ensuring contraceptive access among the most economically vulnerable women.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Advances in training of the specialized human resources for health in Tanzania: the case of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences.

BACKGROUND: Increasing the number of specialized human resources for health is paramount to attainment of the United Nations sustainable development goals. Higher learning institutions in low-and middle-income countries must address this necessity. Here, we describe the 5-years trends in accreditation of the clinical and non-clinical postgraduate (PG) programmes, student admission and graduation at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania, highlighting successes, challenges and opportunities for improvement. METHODS: This was a retrospective longitudinal study describing trends in PG training at MUHAS between 2015 and 2016 and 2019-2020. Major interventions in the reporting period included university-wide short course training programme to faculty on curricula development and initiation of online application system. Data were collected through a review of secondary data from various university records and was analyzed descriptively. Primary outcomes were the number of accredited PG programmes, number of PG applicants as well as proportions of applicants selected, applicants registered (enrolled) and students graduated, with a focus on gender and internationalization (students who are not from Tanzania). RESULTS: The number of PG programmes increased from 60 in 2015-2016 to 77 in 2019-2020, including programmes in rare fields such as cardiothoracic surgery, cardiothoracic anesthesia and critical care. The number of PG applications, selected applicants, registered applicants and PG students graduating at the university over the past five academic years had steadily increased by 79, 81, 50 and 79%, respectively. The average proportions of PG students who applied, were selected and registered as well as graduated at the university over the past five years by gender and internationalization has remained stably at 60% vs. 40% (male vs. female) and 90% vs. 10% (Tanzanian vs. international), respectively. In total, the university graduated 1348 specialized healthcare workers in the five years period, including 45 super-specialists in critical fields, through a steady increase from 200 graduates in 2015-2016 to 357 graduates in 2019-2020. Major challenges encountered include inadequate sponsorship, limited number of academic staff and limited physical infrastructure for teaching. CONCLUSION: Despite challenges encountered, MUHAS has made significant advances over the past five years in training of specialized and super-specialized healthcare workforce by increasing the number of programmes, enrollment and graduates whilst maintaining a narrow gender gap and international relevance. MUHAS will continue to be the pillar in training of the specialized human resources for health and is thus poised to contribute to timely attainment of the health-related United Nations sustainable development goals in Tanzania and beyond, particularly within the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Categorías: Investigaciones

Determining staffing standards for primary care services using workload indicators of staffing needs in the Philippines

Abstract Background

Health services cannot be delivered without an adequate, competent health workforce. Evidence suggests a direct relationship between density of health workforce and health outcomes. The Philippines is faced with health workforce challenges including shortages, inequitable distribution and inadequate skill mix which hinder health service delivery. Evidence-based workforce planning is, therefore, critical to achieve universal health care.

Methods

The Philippines adopted the World Health Organization’s workload indicators of staffing need methodology. Using a multistage sampling method, nine regions with poor health indicators in tuberculosis, family planning, and maternal child health were identified. Physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical technologists were prioritized in the study from 89 primary care health facilities (barangay health stations, rural health units, and city health offices). Data was collected using in-depth interviews, document reviews, observations, and field visits. The workload indicators of staffing need software were used for data analysis to determine staffing requirements and analyse workforce pressure.

Results

The study showed varied results in terms of staffing requirements and workload pressure across cadres and facility types. Some health facilities exhibited staff shortages and high workload pressure. Out of the 40 rural health units and city health offices, only three had the required physicians needed and 22 facilities had a shortage of physicians working under high workload pressure. Other facilities had excess staff compared to the calculated requirements. Nurses at the rural health units showed high workload pressure. Ten rural health units had no medical technologists. Midwives at barangay health stations exhibited extremely low workload pressures.

Conclusion

The study identifies the need for the Philippine Health System, both through the Department of Health and the local governments to efficiently optimize the available health workers by revising the services offered at the primary health care facilities. The results provide evidence for staffing requirements at various levels of care based on workloads, scope of practice and time taken to undertake specific tasks at the barangay health stations, rural health units and city health offices to be integrated into the human resources for health management systems.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Assessing the staffing needs for primary health care centers in Cross River State, Nigeria: a workload indicators of staffing needs study

Abstract Background

A major human resources for health challenge for Nigeria is ensuring the availability and retention of adequate competent health workers in the right mix to provide health care particularly at primary health care facilities in remote and rural communities. This study applied the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method to determine the numbers of nurses, midwives, community health officers (CHOs), community health extension workers (CHEWs), and junior community health extension workers (JCHEWs) required to cope with health care service delivery at primary health care facilities in Cross River State; compare workloads of different cadres at selected health facilities, and identify facilities with highest workload pressure.

Methods

Cross River State in Nigeria has 18 local governments, 196 wards, and an estimated population of over three million people. We used the WISN method to estimate the numbers of nurses/midwives, CHOs/CHEWs, and JCHEWs required to cope with the workload in the 196 ward-level primary health care facilities.

Findings

Basic services provided by nurses/midwives, and CHOs/CHEWs were typical of the primary health care level. They are antenatal care, routine immunization, child welfare clinic, family planning, treatment of minor ailments, assisted and normal deliveries, postnatal care, emergencies, care of tuberculosis patients, and referrals. Findings show that available nurses/midwives for the 196 PHC facilities were 79, and the calculated requirement was 209, WISN ratio of 0.4 and difference of − 130; the existing number of CHOs/CHEWs was 808, the calculated requirement was 1,258, WISN ratio of 0.6, with a difference of − 450; and the number of existing JCHEWs was 258, the calculated requirement was 203, WISN ratio of 1.3 with a difference of 55. Cross River State had only 40% of required nurses and midwives; and 60% of CHOs/ CHEWs needed to provide health services in the ward-level PHC facilities.

Conclusion

The findings from this study indicated marked shortages of needed health workforce particularly nurses and midwives at the primary level of care; and overlap in some of the tasks performed by nurses/midwives, CHO/CHEWs, and JCHEWs.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Applying WHO COVID-19 workforce estimate tools remotely in an African context: a case report from Mali and Kenya

Abstract Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems already struggle. To meet health workforce planning needs during the pandemic, IntraHealth International used two tools created by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The Health Workforce Estimator (HWFE) allows the estimation of the quantity of health workers needed to treat patients during a surge, and the Adaptt Surge Planning Support Tool helps to predict the timing of a surge in cases and the number of health workers and beds needed for predicted caseload. These tools were adapted to fit the African context in a rapid implementation over 5 weeks in one region in Mali and one region in Kenya with the objective to test the feasibility of adapting these tools, which use a Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN)-inspired human resources management methodology, to obtain daily and surge projections of COVID-19 human resources for health needs.

Case presentation

Using a remote team in the US and in-country teams in Mali and Kenya, IntraHealth enacted a phased plan to gather stakeholder support, collect data related to health systems and COVID-19 cases, populate data into the tools, verify modeled results with results on the ground, enact policy measures to meet projected needs, and conduct national training workshops for the ministries of health.

Conclusions

This phased implementation in Mali and Kenya demonstrated that the WISN approach applied to the Health Workforce Estimator and Adaptt tools can be readily adapted to the local context for African countries to rapidly estimate the number of health workers and beds needed to respond to the predicted COVID-19 pandemic caseload. The results may also be used to give a proxy estimate for needed health supplies—e.g., oxygen, medications, and ventilators. Challenges included accurate and timely data collection and updating data. The success of the pilot can be attributed to the adapted WHO tools, the team composition in both countries, access to human resources data, and early support of the ministries of health, with the expectation that this methodology can be applied to other country contexts.

Categorías: Investigaciones

An experience with the use of WISN tool to calculate staffing in a palliative care hospital in Brazil

Abstract Background

The article describes a healthcare staffing exercise that took place in a Cancer Hospital IV, Brazil’s first public palliative care unit. There are numerous gaps in the literature on specialized cancer staffing. Palliative care is a therapy modality that should begin with the diagnosis of a chronic disease, at which point the personnel must be technically and numerically adequate, as well as well-distributed, to provide coverage of the population that requires this type of care.

Methods

The WISN tool was chosen after a systematic review of the use of workload studies in palliative care, because it fulfills this objective. The WISN method is based on a health worker's workload, was developed in the late 1990s in the health sector and has been field-tested and implemented in several countries. Direct observation was used as the fieldwork approach, which was carried out by 18 research assistants with the assistance of two supervisors. They monitored 60 professionals in seven categories for 2 weeks on weekdays in the morning and afternoon periods: nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, medical, nutrition, psychology, and social services.

Results

Except for the medical staff, which at the time included additional physicians on loan from a partner institution to address a shortage in this professional group, all categories exhibited overload with WISN ratios ranging from 0.53 to 0.97. The analysis of time spent on individual activities indicated flaws with the services' informal organizations. The authors also noticed a strong emphasis on support activities and a lack of a clear schedule for training and research. The study's findings included a definition of standard activities for each professional group, an analysis and comparison of activities by categories, departments, and work shifts, a standard workload for training and research, and recommendations to include human resources planning as a fundamental part of a national policy for palliative care.

Conclusions

The WISN tool can be used to plan human resources in cancer centers that provide palliative care, and it provides for a variety of analyses that can be combined with other approaches in the literature.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Adopting workload-based staffing norms at public sector health facilities in Bangladesh: evidence from two districts

Abstract Background

Bangladesh’s Health system is characterized by severe shortage and unequitable distribution of the formally trained health workforce. In this context, government of Bangladesh uses fixed staffing norms for its health facilities. These norms do not always reflect the actual requirement in reality. This study was conducted in public sector health facilities in two selected districts to assess the existing staffing norms with the purpose of adopting better norms and a more efficient utilization of the existing workforce.

Methods

To carry out this assessment, WHO’s Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method was applied. Selection of the two districts out of 64 and a total of 24 health facilities were made in consultation with the formally established steering committee of the Ministry of Health. Health facilities, which were performing well in serving the patients during 2016–2017, were selected. This assessment examined staffing requirement of 20 staff categories.

Results

Based on the computer-generated WISN results, most of the staff categories were found to have a workload pressure of Very High (seven out of 20 staff categories), followed by Extremely High (five staff categories). Two staff categories had high, three had moderately high, two normal, and one low workload. Nurses were found to be predominantly occupied with support activities (50–60% of working time), instead of actual nursing care. Regarding vacancy, if all the vacant posts were filled, understandably, the workload would reduce, but not yet sufficient to meet the existing staff requirements such as consultants, general physicians and nurses at the district and sub-district/upazila-based hospitals.

Conclusion

The existing staffing norms fall short of the WISN staffing requirement. The results provide evidence to prompt a revisit of the staffing policies and adopt workload-based norms. This can be supplemented by reviewing the scope of practice of the staff categories in their respective health facilities. In the short term, government might consider redistributing existing workforce as per workload. In the long term, revision of staffing norms is needed to provide quality health services for all.

Categorías: Investigaciones

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