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Strengthening health workforce planning in Saint Lucia

This two-year project has aimed to support the development of a human resource workforce planning policy and to provide capacity building to the Ministry of Health.

Country: Saint Lucia
Host: Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations
Start date: 30/01/2014
End date: 31/07/2014 
Policy area: Health and Education
Policy expert: Magna Aidoo
Project manager: Joel Burman

Background

The public health sector in Saint Lucia is going through a process of reform first initiated in 2006, with a view to increase efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. The health sector however has not had its own Human Resources for Health (HRH) policies, and instead works within the generalised Public Service policy framework.

Despite a newly constructed national hospital, the country continues to be faced with the persistent challenge of staffing key healthcare positions. The health sector experiences staffing shortage across care and service delivery areas, impacting negatively on the delivery of quality services. Staff shortages are exacerbated by health worker migration, geographic imbalance in the placement of appropriately qualified health staff around the country, limited training capacity, limited staff development, limited HRH funding, constrained authorised positions, and internationally uncompetitive salaries and incentives.

Goal

This project aimed to support the development of a Human Resource Development Policy for the Health Sector and to provide strengthened capacity to implement the Policy across key stakeholders. 

Impact

The immediate beneficiaries of this project have been staff and senior management at the Ministry of Health. The ultimate beneficiaries of the project include the citizens of Saint Lucia, particularly vulnerable groups in society, who will benefit from more effective and complete healthcare provision.

Outputs

The project has delivered the following key achievements:

  • The Ministry of Health (MOH) now has a national policy (“The National Human Resource for Health Policy”) which will guide and influence decisions made by both public and private sector health organisations relating to strategic human resource initiatives and investments. Collaboration and partnerships are being established to execute the priority actions within the policy.
  • This project has brought key persons with information on the health sector and persons who can influence policy decisions together to create a national policy.  Before this, persons worked on their own but now through the National HRH Advisory Group we work together”. - Ministry of Health  
  •  A MOH Human Resource for Health (HRH) Committee (HR Officers, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Corporate Planning Unit staff) has been institutionalised and will carry-on post-project, with representation from the Ministry of Public Service (as required).
  • Stakeholder consultations have ensured that the National HRH Policy has been well received because their contributions were recognised.  It instils a sense of ownership which will help at implementation”. - Ministry of Health  
  • Key human resource staff within the Ministry have been re-oriented to work as human resource practitioners rather than “personnel managers” and this model may be utilised in other Ministries thereby transferring knowledge and extending the benefits derived from this project to a wider audience.
  • There is now an up-to-date national HRH database which the Ministry can use to make projections and resource allocation recommendations in partnership with private sector organisations. This database will migrate to the Smart Stream system [see below] and be maintained in real-time and will become the Ministry’s workforce planning tool.