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Human Resources for Health: Another Challenge to Solve

mahasiswa konselingSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was established in 2015 as the continuing program of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) developed in 2000 has 17 concerns. Some of those concerns are related to food and health. Those are zero hunger, good health and well-being, as well as clean water and sanitation. Solving health issues needs involvement from many stakeholders, decision makers, and parties that have the same vision and willingness. Program/project planning should be designed and then implemented to overcome those health issues, so it’s necessary to have qualified human resources to take place.

Health workers should be the one who have to take place and involve in improving health services. However, human resource could be the best power if they were trained well.  Throughout history, periods of acceleration in health have been sparked by popular mobilization of workers in society. Higher worker density and better work quality—joining such social determinants of health as education, gender equality, and higher income—improve population-based health and human survival (Chen et al 2004). Thus, it’s important to pay attention to human resources for health because they are close to and directly serving community.

At least there are five aspects which can influence performance of human resources for health. Those are Individual characteristics, health service delivery level, health sector level, training capacities, and social and economic context of a country (Wyss 2004). Individual characteristics comprise of cultural, social, and economic background, gender, education, and physical condition and mentality. In culture and gender perspective, community in rural area needs female human resources for health that have midwifery skill. In some areas, it’s taboo and awkward to visit male doctor or health workers. But on the other hand female health workers sometimes resign earlier because of obligation to their husband, pregnancy, and raising of children. But it’s actually not a big deal, because woman can be both good wife or mother and useful person or role model to the community. In the perspective of education, social, and economic condition, people in some developing countries tend to choose law or economic sectors for their education in order to get job and improve their social and economic condition. This case is little different from Indonesia. In Indonesia, health sector workers are still in demand. But the challenge is equity for   community all around this country. Imbalance distribution remains one of key issues not only between urban and rural but also among regions in Indonesia. The highest number of health workforces remains in Java/Bali (WHO 2018).  The other issues is ethnicity regarding linguistic and the ability to communicate and assimilate so that they can give best services and finally empower the community.

The second concern which is health service delivery level, need to be improved by increasing performance and productivity of health workers. This case is influenced by internal and external factor. Internal factor such as a feeling of responsibility should be supported by external factor. The external factors consist of technical and financial achievement and convenient circumstance. it’s necessary to build intensive interaction, give specific job description to health workers, supervise and evaluate health worker’s achievement as well. Considering workload is also important in order to maintain and improve quality and productivity. The shortage of health workers in many low-income countries poses a threat to the quality of health services. When the number of patients per health worker grows sufficiently high, there will be insufficient time to diagnose and treat all patients adequately (Maestada et al 2010).

Health sector level also needs a good organization and management to handle human resource which they work with in order to achieve objections. It comprises of some policies to manage, maintain, and motivate health workers. Policy could be a systematic approach or strategy to acknowledge, reward, and motivate the performance of health workers to provide quality health services through appropriate financial and non-financial incentives (Global Health Workfoce Alliance 2014). Incentives could be defined as all the rewards and punishments that providers face as a consequence of the organizations in which they work, the institutions under which they operate and the specific interventions they provide.  Outing sometimes is needed to refresh and create family bonding among health workers.

Health sector can also have responsibility to conduct health worker training to improve their performance in caring and delivering services to the community. It is necessary to increase number of health workers, however increasing capacity and quality of health workers by training is also important. It can be carried out along with private sector or the third party which had same concern in health. Improving community health workers skill by conducting training could strengthening through health workforce capacity building (Matovu et al 2013) and holds significant potential for building capacity in resource-poor community organizations (Willock et al 2015).  Further, the training of new health personnel depends not only on capacities of training institution but also on the availability of potential students. Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and Ministry of Health in Indonesia have conducted competency test to meet the qualification of potential human resources.

Health sector might be sociopolitical and economical commodity in unstable condition of government. Improving health service is generally tools for campaign and achieving short term outcome which become self-interest of particular party without continually establishment. Improving human resource of health needs multisectoral approaches, human resource distribution policy, and sustainable program. In this case, government need to improve not only human resources for health but also leader resources of health. So, It’s important to have same perspective among government, community, and all parties in a country have a good partnership and realise how health investment has important impact to the sustainability of human resource. And in the end, it will lead to achieve sovereignty. (Nurohmi Susi)


  1. Chen L, Timothy E, Sudhir A, Jo Ivey B, Hilary B, Mushtaque C, Marcos C, Lola D, Gilles D, Gijs E, Elizabeth F, Demissie H, Piya H, Marian J, Christoph K, Sarah M, Ariel Pablos-M, Nelson S, Giorgio S, Barbara S, Alex de W, Suwit W. Human resources for health: overcoming the crisis. Lancet 2004, 364: 1984–90
  2. Global Health Workforce Alliance. Improving health worker productivity and performance in the context of universal health coverage: the roles of standards, quality improvement, and regulation. 2014. [ pdf.] accessed: 2 December 2018.
  3. Mæstada O, Gaute T, Arild A. Overworked? On the relationship between workload and health worker performance. Journal of Health Economics 2010, 29: 686–698
  4. Matovu JKB, Rhoda KW, Susan M, Olico O, William B. David S. Strengthening health workforce capacity through work-based training. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013, 13:8
  5. Willock RJ, Robert MM, Fegxia Y, Pamela D. Peer Training of Community Health Workers to Improve Heart Health Among African American Women. Health Promot Pract, 16(1): 63–71.
  6. World Healh Organization. Human Resources for Health Country Profile (Indonesia). 2010 []. accessed: 2 December 2018
  7. Wyss An approach to classifying human resources constraints to attaining health-related Millennium Development Goals Kaspar. Human Resources for Health 2004, 2:11

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