Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Strengthening human resources for health through information, coordination and accountability mechanisms: the case of the Sudan

Elsheikh Badr, Nazar A Mohamed, Muhammad Mahmood Afzal & Khalif Mohamud Bile

Problem

Human resources for health (HRH) in the Sudan were limited by shortages and the maldistribution of health workers, poor management, service fragmentation, poor retention of health workers in rural areas, and a weak health information system.

Approach

A “country coordination and facilitation” process was implemented to strengthen the national HRH observatory, provide a coordination platform for key stakeholders, catalyse policy support and HRH planning, harmonize the mobilization of resources, strengthen HRH managerial structures, establish new training institutions and scale up the training of community health workers.

Local setting

The national government of the Sudan sanctioned state-level governance of the health system but many states lacked coherent HRH plans and policies. A paucity of training institutions constrained HRH production and the adequate and equitable deployment of health workers in rural areas.

Relevant changes

The country coordination and facilitation process prompted the establishment of a robust HRH information system and the development of the technical capacities and tools necessary for data analysis and evidence-based participatory decision-making and action.

Lessons learnt

The success of the country coordination and facilitation process was substantiated by the stakeholders’ coordinated support, which was built on solid evidence of the challenges in HRH and shared accountability in the planning and implementation of responses to those challenges. The support led to political commitment and the mobilization of resources for HRH. The leadership that was promoted and the educational institutions that were opened should facilitate the training, deployment and retention of the health workers needed to achieve universal health coverage.

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