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The countries of the Americas have aligned their HRH policies with their health objectives to provide universal coverage with a renewal of primary health care. These policies have been focused in five priority need areas or challenges, highlighted by the Toronto Call to Action: policies and planning, distribution, education, workforce management, and management of migration.

Countries of the Americas Region have made great strides in linking the workforce policies as an integral factor to achieving the national health goals. Moving the policies to strategies has posed greater challenges. Decision makers often have not known, or have known very little about, the current situation of their workforces. Thus, strategic planning does not address targeted priorities as effectively as needed. Moreover capacities for monitoring trends or measuring effects of those policies are weak or non-existent.

Supported by PAHO technical cooperation, countries have engaged in establishing a core data set so as to better understand the landscape of the human resources, with regard to stocks, flows, and production, and to be able to take more informed decisions.

In addition, the countries agreed to a set of indicators, or 20 goals, as priority objectives toward which to plan their strategies for overcoming the five challenges and attaining an effective health workforce that will be well trained, well-distributed, and motivated to delivery quality care based on a primary health care model.

It has become evident that the countries of the Region need some sort of standardized process for collecting data, assessing indicators, and establishing processes for monitoring and evaluation. A guide that could be used throughout the Region as a common framework for building evidence, monitoring progress, and evaluating trends and comparisons would provide:

  • A definition of a basic set of data that should be most useful in analyzing the workforce and making decisions
  • A Regional taxonomy and guidelines for the collection, reporting, and monitoring of data to allow comparisons among countries and sub-regions.
  • Access to a database either that would connect with the national HRH database or, when one does not exist, will provide a platform through which the national data might be stored.

Currently the Region is re-positioning its Observatories at the national, sub-regional, and Regional levels to more directly address the gathering and use of quality and valid data, the assessment and monitoring of indicators, and the contribution of research so as to provide substantial and dependable information on which decision-makers may form policies and develop strategies, and then track the results of those plans.

To this end, the Regional advisors join with networks of demographers, statisticians, and researchers to provide technical support, leadership, and expertise to the Regional Observatories for Human Resources in Health in the Americas.