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Responsible governance for improved human resources for health: making the right choices

Responsible governance for improved human resources for health: making the right choices

Amsterdam, 15-16 March 2010. Human resources for health (HRH) are a vital component of any health system and are central to attaining the health-related Millennium Development Goals. In many countries, a shortage of qualified and motivated personnel, and unequal distribution between areas and types of facilities, hampers the availability and quality of health services. Poor HR management, including financial constraints, can lead to insufficient numbers of health care providers being trained, inadequate planning and deployment of health care providers, and economic migration.

Currently, 57 countries have a critical shortage of skilled health workers (World Health Report 2006). Review of the development and implementation of HRH policies in these countries has shown that in some cases, the policy framework has improved, policies are more clearly defined and plans are generally coherent, but policy implementation is often poor.

To address those factors hindering appropriate policy development and implementation, and to mitigate the HRH crisis, responsible governance is needed at all levels. Responsible governance leads to:

  • Better understanding of the policy context and evidence-based policy development
  • Development of appropriate strategies, procedures, tools and capacity to perform
  • Explicit attention to regulatory mechanisms, including checks and balances for improved accountability
  • Participation and voice of stakeholders, including users of services


The aim of the conference is to develop an understanding of how attention to wider governance issues in the development and implementation of HRH policies and strategies can lead to better performance of health systems. The conference should achieve:

  • Better understanding of the influence of governance on HRH
  • Identification of gaps in the role of governance
  • Insight into examples of promising practices
  • Formulation of key messages to strengthen advocacy


The conference will provide a forum for policy–makers, researchers, civil society organizations and other experts on human resources for health to exchange their views, present their research and experiences, and discuss ways to translate these into effective strategies for mitigating the HRH crisis.

The conference is being organized around the main elements for responsible governance for improved HRH and will consist of a number of keynote presentations, parallel sessions and plenary discussions. During the final plenary session, key messages to strengthen governance will be drawn up, based on the conclusions from the previous sessions.

Organizers: KIT, Cordaid (member of the MMI Network), WHO, ICN

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