Human resources for health

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Human resources for health is defined as “all people engaged in actions whose primary intent is to enhance health”, according to the World Health Organization‘s World Health Report 2006.[1] Human resources for health are identified as one of the core building blocks of a health system.[2] They include physicians, nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, midwives, dentists, allied health professions, community health workers, social health workers and other health care providers, as well as health management and support personnel – those who may not deliver services directly but are essential to effective health system functioning, including health services managers, medical records and health information technicians, health economists, health supply chain managers, medical secretaries, and others.

The field of health human resources deals with issues such as planning, development, performance, management, retention, information, and research on human resources for the health care sector. In recent years, raising awareness of the critical role of HRH in strengthening health system performance and improving population health outcomes has placed the health workforce high on the global health agenda.[3]

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