Health workforce

Governance and planning

Developing a health workforce which can offer primary to tertiary services requires a well-functioning governance infrastructure. Health workforce assessment, policy development, planning and monitoring require dialogue between stakeholders from government and non-government partners who contribute to creating a sustainable and responsive workforce. WHO responds to these challenges through:

  • strengthening governance capacities to address health workforce challenges,
  • improving the global information and evidence base, and
  • facilitating the development of health workforce observatories and other cooperative mechanisms for sharing experiences, information and evidence to support policy decision making.

Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN)

The WISN is a human resource planning and management tool which provides health managers a systematic way of making staffing decisions and better manage human resources. The method determines the number of health workers required to cope with the workload of a given health facility and assesses the workload pressure of health workers. This is a revision of an earlier WISN user’s manual, which WHO published in 1998. It is is intended for a wider range of managers takings into consideration today’s health systems and the decentralized nature of health management in many countries.
Now available in English, French, Spanish

Regional observatories on human resources in health systems

Africa Health Workforce Observatory

The Africa Health Workforce Observatory promotes, develops and sustains the knowledge base for human resources for health in the African region. It provides evidence for policy decisions to strengthen health systems and improve health service delivery. The Observatory monitors and shares both positive and negative practices and experiences. Information disseminated maintains the HRH agenda at national, subregional, regional and global forums.

Andean Network of Observatories of Human Resources for Health

The Andean Observatory of Human Resources for Health allows consultation, exchange and joint learning in order to facilitate the development for human resources for health in the Andean Subregion. It is a flexible and dynamic network to offer and share strategic information, knowledge, and experiences for the own problem-solving of human resources for health.

Eastern Mediterranean Region

The purpose of this initiative is to assist WHO Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean region in using a proactive approach and sharing the best and most innovative options to tackle HRH-related challenges. The Observatory offers up-to-date statistics on the health workforce, plus regional resources for assessing correlations between key health workforce determinants as well as operational and policy linkages to national and regional benchmarks.

European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies supports and promotes evidence-based health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health care systems in Europe. The Observatory includes statistical data, policy briefs, research publications and other resources on a number of topics including human resources for health.

Jordan National Human Resources for Health Observatory (NHRHO)

The NHRHO of Jordan will help in providing reliable and instant data and information necessary to develop informed policies and evidence-based decisions. This website is a landmark which highlights important and urgent issues on HRH. It will act as a platform for HRH information characterized by dynamicity and based on networking, stakeholder involvement and ownership. Eventually it will serve as a tool to advocate and promote informed policies and decisions.

Latin American Region and the Caribbean

The Observatory of Human Resources in the Health Sector Reforms is a cooperative initiative among the countries of the Latin American Region and the Caribbean to produce information and knowledge necessary for improving human resources in health policy decisions, and to share the knowledge obtained from the experiences in order to improve the management of human resource development in the health services sector.

Health workforce and the Sustainable Development Goals – an infographic

The power of health workers

Contact us

Health Workforce Department
World Health Organization (WHO)
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Tel: +41 22 791 2542
Fax: +41 22 791 4747