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"More money for health - more health for the money": a human resources for health perspective

Author(s): Campbell James | Jones Iain | Whyms Desmond

Journal: Human Resources for Health
ISSN 1478-4491

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 18;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background At the MDG Summit in September 2010, the UN Secretary-General launched the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. Central within the Global Strategy are the ambitions of "more money for health" and "more health for the money". These aim to leverage more resources for health financing whilst simultaneously generating more results from existing resources - core tenets of public expenditure management and governance. This paper considers these ambitions from a human resources for health (HRH) perspective. Methods Using data from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) we set out to quantify and qualify the British government's contributions on HRH in developing countries and to establish a baseline.. To determine whether activities and financing could be included in the categorisation of 'HRH strengthening' we adopted the Agenda for Global Action on HRH and a WHO approach to the 'working lifespan' of health workers as our guiding frameworks. To establish a baseline we reviewed available data on Official Development Assistance (ODA) and country reports, undertook a new survey of HRH programming and sought information from multilateral partners. Results In financial year 2008/9 DFID spent £901 million on direct 'aid to health'. Due to the nature of the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) it is not feasible to directly report on HRH spending. We therefore employed a process of imputed percentages supported by detailed assessment in twelve countries. This followed the model adopted by the G8 to estimate ODA on maternal, newborn and child health. Using the G8's model, and cognisant of its limitations, we concluded that UK 'aid to health' on HRH strengthening is approximately 25%. Conclusions In quantifying DFID's disbursements on HRH we encountered the constraints of the current CRS framework. This limits standardised measurement of ODA on HRH. This is a governance issue that will benefit from further analysis within more comprehensive programmes of workforce science, surveillance and strategic intelligence. The Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health may present an opportunity to partially address the limitations in reporting on ODA for HRH and present solutions to establish a global baseline.
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