February 9, 2023
The WHO estimates a projected shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030, with the majority of that shortage (7.5 million) falling in low- and middle-income countries. The global scarcity is because many governments face significant challenges planning for, producing, and sustaining their workforces at the quantity and quality needed to meet health system demand. With the workforce supply and demand often being misaligned, some cadres are overproduced while others continue to be underproduced, contributing to health worker vacancies, underemployment, and other labor market imbalances.
At the same time, the workforce in many countries is characterized by suboptimal skill mix, distribution and performance—meaning that governments are not only unable to scale up to the levels of health workers needed, but they are also unable get the most out of their existing resources.
The aim of CHAI’s Health Workforce Program is to ensure our partner governments can optimize the number, skill mix, performance, and distribution of their health workforces within available resources. When this is the case, governments will be able to make progress toward universal health care (UHC) and primary healthcare (PHC) by maximizing the extent to which available, high performing, and motivated health workers can provide quality services to the population when and where needed.
We do this by supporting governments with the analytics, policy development and processes needed to estimate workforce requirements and strategically recruit, deploy and sustain health workers – from community health workers who identify and refer patients into facilities all the way to specialist physicians who provide lifesaving care. We also partner with governments on ways to improve the management of their existing workforces, from strengthening information systems to integrating historically fragmented systems for continuous learning.
To accomplish all of this, we support governments to mobilize, coordinate, and optimally allocate resources—domestic and external—for health workforce. Currently, CHAI is supporting the governments of ten countries to strategically program their Global Fund activities for health workforce and community health, making sure that governments can leverage the single largest global source of funding for health workforce and, in so doing, make progress toward their national priorities for workforce and health systems development.