The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia develops profile of human resources for health

In 2016, the WHO Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030 outlined responsibilities of the WHO Secretariat and recommendations for other stakeholders and international partners on:

  • optimizing the health workforce to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • understanding and preparing for the future needs of health systems;
  • harnessing the rising demand in health labour markets to maximize job creation and economic growth;
  • building the institutional capacity to implement this agenda; and
  • strengthening data on human resources for health for monitoring and ensuring accountability in the implementation of both national and global strategies.

In the light of the adoption of the Global strategy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia initiated the development of a national action plan for enhancing its human resources for health. It began by undertaking a situation analysis and defining potential scenarios for the future, which are presented in a comprehensive human resources for health profile.

Experts gathered data for the profile from national and international sources throughout 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. Upon completing the initial draft, the country initiated an open consultative process with diverse stakeholders from health and other sectors to discuss the current situation and consider options for the future development and management of the health workforce.

Organized by the Ministry of Health and supported by the WHO Country Office in Skopje, the process involved stakeholders from the Agency for Quality and Accreditation of Health Institutions, the Directorate for Electronic Health, the Health Insurance Fund, the Institute of Public Health, the Ministry of Health and the State Statistical Office, as well as professional associations and chambers.

The analysis of available data and the consultative process showed a significant lack of human resources in the health sector in general, and in specific areas in particular. This clearly points to the need for a comprehensive action plan in line with the country’s current legislation and policy frameworks.

Given the changeability of the labour market and of the health system in particular, the country could also benefit from establishing an electronic database of human resources for health. This database would serve as a tool for real-time monitoring of the health workforce, and for the assessment of future needs in terms of development, employment and utilization.