Plenary Session 4: Making HRH Innovation Work for Strengthening Health Systems

Venue: TBC

Day and time: Friday, 28 January 2011 - 14:00-15:00

A variety of innovative work has been implemented in the areas of education and retention of health workers. While successful projects have the potential for adaptation to a number of health systems, other innovations have been short-lived. These concepts and lessons in HRH innovations for scaling up training will be reviewed, and related to country-level experiences.

To make a difference in health systems strengthening, HRH innovation should be scaled up innovatively. “There is no time for despair. We need hope.” These are the words of a Palestinian health professional.

For the future of HRH, in the same way, there is no time for despair; we need hope. To cultivate hope, established HRH evidence is not enough - we also need innovations.

Since 2004, when the HRH crisis gained global attention, innovative projects have been in the field of education and retention of health workers. Innovative scaling up of community health workers has been also observed in several countries. Now, it is not too much to say that innovations are mushrooming.

Some of them, however, ended up as short-lived innovations, which could never be sustained or scaled up. On the other hand, others have remained as innovations with real potential and room for further growth, from which countries can draw lessons in their efforts to adapt these projects to the context of their own national health systems.

In particular, we need to draw lessons on how these surviving innovations can improve health system performance, at least on healthcare delivery, one of the six building blocks of health systems. We also need to know why some innovations soon died out.

The objectives of this final plenary session include :

  • Synthesize the state-of-the-art knowledge on HRH innovations for scaling up HRH education and training, and community health workers. The synthesis would cover both success and failure cases, focusing on low- and middle-income countries.
  • Draw country lessons and review experiences regarding various innovations in HRH.
  • Share these lessons in order to advocate piloting and adaptation of these innovations in low- and middle-income countries.