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  1. 1
    182288
    Peer Reviewed

    Assessing human resources for health: what can be learned from labour force surveys?

    Gupta N; Diallo K; Zum P; Dal Poz MR

    Human Resources for Health. 2003 Jul 22; 1:[24] p..

    Background: Human resources are an essential element of a health system’s inputs, and yet there is a huge disparity among countries in how human resource policies and strategies are developed and implemented. The analysis of the impacts of services on population health and well-being attracts more interest than analysis of the situation of the workforce in this area. This article presents an international comparison of the health workforce in terms of skill mix, sociodemographics and other labour force characteristics, in order to establish an evidence base for monitoring and evaluation of human resources for health. Methods: Profiles of the health workforce are drawn for 18 countries with developed market and transitional economies, using data from labour force and income surveys compiled by the Luxembourg Income Study between 1989 and 1997. Further descriptive analyses of the health workforce are conducted for selected countries for which more detailed occupational information was available. Results: Considerable cross-national variations were observed in terms of the share of the health workforce in the total labour market, with little discernible pattern by geographical region or type of economy. Increases in the share were found among most countries for which time-trend data were available. Large gender imbalances were often seen in terms of occupational distribution and earnings. In some cases, health professionals, especially physicians, were overrepresented among the foreign-born compared to the total labour force. Conclusions: While differences across countries in the profile of the health workforce can be linked to the history and role of the health sector, at the same time some common patterns emerge, notably a growing trend of health occupations in the labour market. The evidence also suggests that gender inequity in the workforce remains an important shortcoming of many health systems. Certain unexpected patterns of occupational distribution and educational attainment were found that may be attributable to differences in health care delivery and education systems; however, definitional inconsistencies in the classification of health occupations across surveys were also apparent. (author's)
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  2. 2
    105599
    Peer Reviewed

    Blood safety in developing countries.

    Gibbs WN; Corcoran P

    VOX SANGUINIS. 1994; 67(4):377-81.

    As part of an effort to monitor the safety of global blood transfusion services, the World Health Organization circulates a questionnaire for use in a database on blood safety. In 1992, 67% of countries responding to the survey (100% of developed, 66% of developing, and 46% of less developed countries) were screening all blood donations for HIV antibodies and 87% of these countries (100% of developed, 92% of developing, and 63% of less developed countries) carried out supplementary testing to confirm positive results. All developed countries, 72% of developing, and 35% of less developed countries screen blood for hepatitis B surface antigen and 94%, 71%, and 48%, respectively, screen for syphilis. The primary reasons for inadequate blood testing are the cost of test kits and reagents and the unreliability of supplies. The proportion of safe donors is highest in systems where all donors are voluntary and nonremunerated--conditions that exist in 85% of developed countries but only 15% of developing and 7% of less developed countries. Blood safety would also be improved by more appropriate use of transfusions and the provision of alternatives such as saline and colloids. Other problems include insufficient blood supply (e.g., none of the less developed and only 9% of developing countries collect 30 units or more per 1000 population per year) and inadequate quality assurance in all aspects of preparatory testing.
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  3. 3
    011391

    Informal Meeting on the Development of a Methodology for the Surveillance of Breastfeeding, Geneva, 2-4 February, 1981.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    [Unpublished] 1981. 58 p.

    A fundamental part of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) task of biannually reporting on the steps taken by the organization to promote breastfeeding and to improve infant and young child feeding will necessitate the regular collection of statistical information on the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding in the different Member States. The purpose of this document is to outline the following: the rationale for the collection of breastfeeding data; a summary of the scientific methods by which these data can be collected; a module which can be attached to ongoing surveys; and a protocol which can be used by national field workers in conducting surveys specifically on the subject of breastfeeding. Information on trends in breastfeeding is important because it can be used to provide a valuable insight into a variety of maternal and child health issues and serve as a useful health and social indicator. Changes in the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding reflect the attitudes of mothers toward infant care, their knowledge on infant feeding, their concept of family life, time, and work, and their relative exposure to different sources of information concerning the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding. There are 2 major ways of collecting epidemiological information--a tool for assessment of breastfeeding practices--surveillance and surveys. Potential sources of information are vital statistics, hospital records, postnatal clinic records, market research, national health/nutrition surveys, and fertility surveys. The core breastfeeding module should contain the minimum number of questions required to assess the prevalence and duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding along with key demographic questions designed to describe breastfeeding in terms of time, place, and person. Suggested items are listed. The development of a standardized protocol/study design which, with modification, can be adapted to national conditions and needs, will facilitate surveys and permit the comparability of data. The details of survey development are reviewed.
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