Human Resources Management and Capacity Development. (MDS-3: Managing Access to Medicines and Health Technologies, Chapter 51)
(2012; 29 pages)


Human resources are central to planning, managing, and delivering health services, including pharmaceutical services. In most countries, personnel account for a high proportion of the national budget for the health sector- often 75 percent or more. Despite the critical importance of human resources to the functioning of pharmaceutical management programs, few concerted efforts have addressed the severe staff shortages facing the health sector in many countries. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has intensified this already serious situation.

In addition to staffing shortages, the health system faces many human resources challenges, including human resources planning, recruitment, deployment, training, staff motivation, and staff development. The root causes of these issues can be traced to years of neglect, low salaries, poor workplace climate, and limited capacity to train and update staff skills. Interventions needed to alleviate the human resources crisis include short-term actions, such as task shifting, while in the long term, countries need to expand their capacity to train enough staff to fill needs. Some issues need to be addressed at the national level (for example, compensation), but many can be addressed through better leadership and human resource management (HRM) at the facility level. In the pharmaceutical sector, the goal of HRM is to develop and sustain an adequate supply of skilled professionals who are motivated to provide a high level of pharmaceutical care. Effectively addressing human resources challenges requires improved leadership and management at all levels. An expanded HRM role, especially at the facility level, is needed to transform the outdated view of human resources as mainly an administrative function to one where the human resources staff work closely with managers to support the health goals of the organization and to ensure that the right staff with the right skills are in place to meet these goals.

Managing people is an important and challenging task for any manager. Employees are motivated by many factors that can be affected by management. Receiving effective supervision, perceiving they are fairly treated, understanding their job priorities, getting feedback, feeling valued and appreciated, and having opportunities for professional development can all help staff perform better. Developing and maintaining a fair, equitable, and effective HRM system can motivate staff and increase their level of job satisfaction and efficiency, which can result in improved service quality. An important part of a long-term strategy is creating an organizational and management structure for HRM that is implemented by managers and staff at all levels. A human resources partnership between senior managers, supervisors, human resources professionals, and individual staff members is what makes an HRM system work.

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