Addressing the move toward universal health in the Caribbean through strengthening the health workforce

Tomblin Murphy et al.

This article describes the human resources for health (HRH) policy and action plan development in Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the supporting role of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Workforce Planning and Research, Dalhousie University, and sub-regional action for supporting continuing country-level HRH strengthening. A policy development process, comprising document/literature review and stakeholder consultations, was used to conduct a situational analysis, which informed the HRH policy and action plan. The policies and action plans centered on HRH priority areas of leadership and governance, HRH planning capacity, strengthening primary health care, optimization of pre- and post-licensure education/ training, retention and recruitment, deployment and utilization, inter-sectoral and external partnerships for sustainability, health information systems, and HRH research. A cross-sectional analysis of the findings found that HRH challenges and priority areas were consistent across the countries, resulting in similar policy priority actions that are aligned with the regional lines of action for strengthening HRH for universal access to health and universal health coverage. The results support the value-add in collaborating on a regional level to build capacity for needs-based HRH planning within member countries. The Caribbean-Community (CARICOM), with facilitation by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Caribbean Subregional Programme, has established the Human Resources for Health Action Task Force for the Caribbean. The expertise of the Dalhousie University PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre, provided through the technical assistance, supported the three countries in this important initiative and provides for further opportunities to support PAHO, the Task Force, and countries as they work to achieve their HRH strengthening objectives.

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Special report