Optimizing health worker roles for maternal and newborn health

Front cover

Human resource shortages are a threat to the attainment of the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

A more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health-care workers is seen as a promising strategy for improving access and cost-effectiveness within health systems.
Such task-shifting may be particularly attractive to countries that lack the means to improve access to care within the time available until the MDG deadlines.

Interactive version

The objective of these guidelines is to offer evidence-based recommendations to facilitate universal access to key, effective maternal and newborn interventions through the optimization of health worker roles. These recommendations are intended for health policy-makers, managers and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level. By providing this broad guidance internationally, WHO assumes that countries will adapt and implement these recommendations keeping in mind the context of the national political and health systems.