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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Health systems standard 2: Human resources

Health services are provided by trained and competent health workforces who have an adequate mix of knowledge and skills to meet the health needs of the population.

Key actions to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Key indicators (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Guidance notes

  1. Staffing levels: The health workforce includes a wide range of health workers including medical doctors, nurses, midwives, clinical officers or physician assistants, lab technicians, pharmacists, CHWs, etc., as well as management and support staff. There is no consensus about an optimal level of health workers for a population and this can vary from context to context. However, there is correlation between the availability of health workers and coverage of health interventions.For example, the presence of just one female health worker or one representative of a marginalised ethnic group on a staff may significantly increase the access of women or people from minority groups to health services. Imbalance in staffing must be addressed through the redeployment and/or recruitment of health workers to areas where there are critical gaps in relation to health needs (see Core Standard 6).
  2. Training and supervision of staff: Health workers should have the proper training, skills and supervisory support for their level of responsibility. Agencies have an obligation to train and supervise staff to ensure that their knowledge is up-to-date. Training and supervision will be high priorities especially where staff have not received continuing education or where new protocols are introduced. As far as possible, training programmes should be standardised and prioritised according to key health needs and competence gaps identified through supervision. Records should be maintained of who has been trained in what by whom, when and where. These should be shared with the human resources section of the local health authorities (see Core Standard 6).