Health Workforce Information Reference Group
"A technical meeting on strengthening health workforce information systems was held on 10–12 March 2010 in Montreux, Switzerland. The meeting was jointly convened by the World Health Organization’s Department of Human Resources for Health, the Global Health Workforce Alliance and the Health Metrics Network, who have called for the establishment of a Health Workforce Information Reference Group (HIRG). The aim of this first meeting of HIRG members and stakeholders was to initiate discussion on how to promote a coordinated, harmonized and standardized approach to strengthening country health workforce information and monitoring systems to support policy, planning and research. The meeting brought together 20 experts and leaders in health workforce information from Brazil, Kenya, Malawi, the Philippines, the Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States of America, representing ministries of health, universities, global initiatives and partnerships, and United Nations agencies. The meeting concentrated on building on evidence obtained and lessons learnt in order to strengthen health workforce information systems, focusing on the validity, sharing and use of different sources of data on human resources for health (HRH); the challenges of information systems strengthening from governance, human resource capacity and technical perspectives; and partnership opportunities for developing and implementing a global strategy for strengthening country information systems. There are many sources in countries that can potentially produce valuable data for HRH measurement and monitoring, including routine administrative records, population censuses and surveys, health facility assessments and other types of data collection exercises within and outside the formal health sector. One of the central concerns arising from the meeting was that strengthening health workforce information systems means not just the bringing together of different data, but more importantly the bringing together of different constituencies and stakeholders. The results and ideas emanating from presentations and discussions were used to reach consensus on the terms of reference for the HIRG and its membership and to agree an action plan of work for the group for 2010 and beyond. Against a backdrop of increasing global demand for quality HRH data and information, the HIRG is seen to have an advocacy and convening role among data producers and users and to function as a knowledge broker. The group’s action plan aims to take forward the initial ideas generated at the meeting into more that can be used to engage with key stakeholders at country, regional and international levels for dissemination and sharing of information."