The pharmaceutical workforce plays a vital role in the implementation of medicines policies in countries. However, the effectiveness of the workforce within the health system has been hindered by insufficient numbers and the skill mix necessary to respond to target population needs in countries - especially as donor-funded programmes, such as those related to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, expand in the developing world. Pharmaceutical human resources challenges have to be addressed in order to improve the availability and rational use of medicines, and hence ensure positive health outcomes. The development, production, distribution and appropriate use of medicines, as well as the supportive functions of regulation, research and training are essential to a strong health system. All of these activities require the participation of competent pharmaceutical personnel.
In line with the WHO Medicines Strategy 2008-2013 which recognize the importance of pharmaceutical human resource development and the need to enhance workforce capacity for sound medicines policies, the WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies in collaboration with the department of Human Resources for Health has developed a set of tools to assess countries' pharmaceutical workforce availability, distribution, development, attrition trends etc. and job satisfaction.
Information collected using the tools is analysed and the results form the basis of a consultation on a framework for pharmaceutical human resources development.
This framework will form the basis for the development of pharmaceutical human resources plan that should be integrated into national human resources plan for health.
The tools have been successfully used in Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.