The last decade has highlighted major gaps in the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of the health workforce in many countries, factors recognized as limiting population health outcomes and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, with the even more ambitious health targets included in the Sustainable Development Goals liable to be undermined by these same factors. In recognition of this, there have been calls for a paradigm shift in health workforce development, seeking a more diverse range of skills supporting primary health care. This has led to growing interest in the potential of community-based practitioners in expanding access to essential health services, particularly in under-served communities in low- and middle-income countries.
This Editorial contextualises an important new analysis by McPake et al in WHO Bulletin that provides an empirical foundation to such proposals, reporting that investment in these types of health workers can in the right circumstances be a cost-effective approach.
Campbell, J.; Admasu, K.; Soucat, A.; Tlou, S. Maximizing the impact of community-based practitioners in the quest for universal health coverage. Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2015) 93 (9) 590-590A. [DOI: 10.2471/BLT.15.162198]