Health Workers Online Course

To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the World Health Organization estimates that health systems require at least 2.5 health workers per 1,000 people.(1) Given the rapidly shrinking health workforce in developing countries due to migration, a situation will soon arise in which medicines are available to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but doctors and nurses will not be available in sufficient numbers to prescribe them. In order to overcome the problem of human resource shortage in developing countries, a supplementary healthcare workforce is being trained to perform many of the basic, but nevertheless life-saving procedures of these scarce medical professionals.(2) In this course, the learner will learn about:

  • the harsh reality of the health workforce situation in developing countries
  • the importance of surgical task shifting as an ethical, cost-effective, and sustainable solution to the problem of health workforce scarcity
  • the necessity of community health workers/ health extension workers to facilitate effective and high quality healthcare delivery
  • how a supportive community of health workers can be built and managed
  • the problem of low motivation amongst health workers and its solution

Global Health University Resource: Excellence in Global Health Education

Online Course

(1) Ooms, Gorik, Wlm Van Damme, and Marleen Temmerman. "Medicines Without Doctors: Why the Global Fund Must Fund Salaries of Health Workers to Expand AIDS Treatment." PLOSMedicine 4, 4 (2007): (accessed June 9, 2009).

(2) See, for example World Health Organization. Global Health Workforce Alliance. Country Case Study: Ethiopia's Human Resource for Health Programme. Web. <>.