Optimizing health worker roles for maternal and newborn health

13 DECEMBER 2012 | GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new set of recommendations optimizing the roles health workers which aim to help address critical health workforce shortages that slow down progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals.

According to WHO, a more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health workers can significantly improve both access and cost-effectiveness – for example by training and enabling ‘mid-level’ and ‘lay’ health workers to perform specific interventions otherwise provided only by cadres with longer (and sometimes more specialized) training.

These recommendations are intended for health policy-makers, managers and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level. WHO hopes that countries will adapt and implement them to meet local needs. The recommendations were developed through a formal, structured process including a thorough review of available evidence. The process and the recommendations are described in the related documents.

Optimize MNH interactive website

As part of the project, WHO has also launched a special, interactive website to present the OptimizeMNH (maternal and newborn health) recommendations in an interactive format.

Users can browse the recommendations by type (for example, whether WHO recommends the intervention, or recommends against the intervention) or by type of intervention (for example, whether the intervention is delivered during pregnancy or delivered after birth).

For each recommendation, users can also obtain more information on the justification provided by WHO and can obtain the full text of the recommendation, including the evidence base and implementation considerations.