(1994; 60 pages)
5.1 Manpower planning
Health manpower planning is part of health planning. It links the health care system with the educational system - the institutions and training programmes that prepare manpower for the health care system. Pharmacy manpower planning should be part of health manpower planning and health planning as a whole - especially so, since in very many countries it is concerned with building up a seriously undermanned but essential component of health services.
Governments, schools of pharmacy, and professional pharmacy associations need to collaborate in the assessment of the current pharmacy manpower supply, needs, skills and roles in their countries, and in making projections for the future. For such planning, sound baseline data are essential, with reference to the numbers of practising pharmacists by age and sex, occupation and specialty, geographical area, qualification, etc., and also with reference to the number of students who are expected to enter the profession, and to other pharmacy personnel who are not pharmacists.
National authorities should determine their pharmacy manpower requirements, quantitative and qualitative, and make realistic projections of manpower supply, in the context of their health manpower requirements and national health policy.
From an assessment of the current manpower situation, planners can forecast medium- and long-term requirements, as regards competencies and numbers. Manpower requirements can also be derived from health system targets, including: qualitative needs; levels of skills, competencies, and range of tasks; composition of health teams and complementarity of tasks; and distribution of staff within a country. Where there are acute shortages of pharmacists, manpower planning will need to concentrate, in the short term, on filling posts in drug regulation, control and procurement, and in hospital pharmacy. In countries with few or no pharmacists, interim arrangements are necessary to ensure that patients can obtain essential medicines; but every effort should be made to produce an adequate supply of professionally trained pharmacists.
Manpower planning should be related also to the two other aspects of manpower development: (i) education and training, to ensure acceptable standards of education, related to the needs of health care systems; and (ii) manpower management, including employment conditions, incentives for work in underserved areas, and continuing education.
One of the tasks of pharmacy manpower planners in developing countries is to indicate ways in which, (i) training institutions and organizations in developed countries can best serve the needs of developing countries; and (ii) training institutions of developing countries can cooperate in meeting the manpower needs of their own and other developing countries.
By providing data on needs, costs and consequences, planners inform and influence policy-makers.