Health Workforce Development

In many countries, health workers’ performance is constrained by external factors, including shortages of medicine and supplies, high turnover, and limited supervision. Growing evidence suggests that improving productivity and engagement while addressing performance factors can contribute to improved care outcomes.

URC conducts research and applies improvement methods and performance management strategies to:

  • Clarify roles and expectations, rationalize tasks, and introduce performance measurement
  • Build health worker capacity to provide high-quality health services competently, safely, and efficiently
  • Develop and test incentives, rewards, and consequences that reinforce strong performance
  • Strengthen feedback mechanisms among care delivery team members, supervisors, and community members
  • Enhance the work environment, from the safety and availability of supplies to effective management practices
  • Engage and empower health workers and managers to identify problems and test their own solutions

We have supported research studies on task shifting in Zambia, KenyaMalawi, and Tanzania; on the impact of performance-based financing on quality of care in MalawiSenegal, and Guatemala; on comprehensive, scalable efforts to improve in-service training in Swaziland, and on addressing disrespect and abuse to improve quality of care in Tanzania.

URC believes that a strong workforce is a foundational requirement for a robust and effective health system. By strengthening a country's leadership and governance capacity, we can improve public-sector stewardship, cross-sector collaboration, equitable resource allocation, and the use of data for planning, evaluation. These, in turn, can help ensure the sustainability of health workforce investments and improve the long-term health and well-being of a country. 

A nurse talks to a patient
A senior nurse attends to pregnant women at the Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital Antenatal Care Clinic in Uganda while nursing students observe (2013)