Sexual and reproductive health

Optimizing health worker roles for maternal and newborn health

Front cover

The World Health Organization’s recommendations on optimizing the roles of health workers aim to help address critical health workforce shortages that slow down progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals. 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.

Interactive version

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.


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Annexes

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Using lay health workers to improve access to key maternal and newborn health interventions in sexual and reproductive health

This summary includes the key recommendations from the WHO’s OptimizeMNH task shifting guidance.