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“The HRH Global Resource Center is the preeminent resource on HR that serves the developing world, and maybe even the developed world, in health,” says Tim Martineau, senior lecturer in HR management at the International Health Research Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
To foster a global exchange of human resources for health (HRH) evidence, tools and innovation, the Capacity Project created a searchable collection of HRH resources with librarian support. Launched in May 2006, the HRH Global Resource Center now has over 1,500 resources to support HRH in developing countries and help the health community address workforce challenges.
This online library (www.hrhresourcecenter.org) holds a rapidly growing collection of reports, journal articles, tools and features with a special focus on country-level documents. The site receives an average of over 35,000 visits each month from users in 171 countries. Users can subscribe to a monthly e-mail newsletter that alerts them to new resources and updates.
Feedback from the HRH community continues to be enthusiastic. In Bangladesh, Dr. Khaled Shamsul Islam works in the HR development unit at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He first visited the site to look for “information to support my work on HRH national perspectives and as a steering committee member for regional activities.” Dr. Islam has been able to find helpful materials. Recently, he shares, “we have been working on community health care, and the latest newsletter highlights a new resource on community health workers in India. This is very helpful for me to find out what is going on in a neighboring country that is working on the same issue.”
In some countries, access to the Internet is an issue. To help, the HRH Global Resource Center can provide CDs of selected resources to users who have limited or no connectivity. For example, the site’s librarian created a CD for use by HRH leaders in Southern Sudan. Dr. Monywiir Arop Kuol, director general of HR development and planning at the Ministry of Health, comments on the value the resources on the CD have brought to his government’s efforts. “First, we started with the policy development [resources],” he explains. “We used [a] tool in informing ourselves of the process of how to design our policy, and we coupled that with the WHO guidelines. We came up with a fair understanding of what a policy should look like and what is supposed to be contained in a policy. I found it to be very useful.”
In India, Dr. Rajesh Gopal works at the Gujarat State AIDS Control Society. He appreciates the way the HRH Global Resource Center “addresses the most relevant issues in such an effective manner.” In particular, he notes that “the valuable information is directly useful in strengthening the response to the containment of HIV/AIDS besides addressing the health system strengthening issues.”
John Dada of the Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria remarks that his organization serves as the only physical resource center with Internet access “in an area with over 250,000 rural population and a dozen health and educational institutions. We get requests for health journals and information regularly. [The HRH Global Resource Center] is a valuable resource.”
In the UK, Martineau uses the HRH Global Resource Center for his academic and country-level work. “Sometimes I’m looking for a particular document I know I have, and it’s faster to get it on the site,” he notes. He also uses it to look for new materials. “When I’m going to a country,” he explains, “I just search [for resources] by country. Most recently I’ve been to Malawi; I looked to see if there was anything I didn’t know of, because I was gathering background materials for the particular job that I was doing.”
Dr. Kuol of the Southern Sudan Ministry of Health is excited about using the site’s resources to make progress. He found a “tool for developing a training plan” that was “very useful. I want to use it right now,” he adds, “since I have been lucky to appoint a director of training for professional development. Now I think we are going to move ahead immediately.”
The Capacity Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IntraHealth International and partners (IMA, JHPIEGO, LATH, MSH, PATH, TRG), helps developing countries strengthen human resources for health to better respond to the challenges of implementing and sustaining quality health programs.
The Voices from the Capacity Project series is made possible by the support of the American people through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of IntraHealth International and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.