Health Professional Education Market Assessment
The healthcare workforce is a critical component of a well-functioning health system. The availability and accessibility of health professionals in sufficient quantities with appropriate skills are essential to meet the health needs of the population and facilitate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC).
To meet UHC goals, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a density of 4.45 health professionals per 1,000 people. In many low and middle income countries, shortages in the health workforce have prompted government to direct efforts towards the development of programs and policies to increase output of health professionals from the education sector. The influence of market forces in the health education system and how these shape the labour market are often overlooked and as a result many health workforce interventions fall short of achieving the desired outcomes.
In Libya there are an estimated 8.9 skilled health professionals per 1,000 people as of 2014. While the size of this health workforce should be sufficient to achieve UHC, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest these goals are challenged by labour market imbalances and health worker maldistribution. Addressing these issues will require greater consideration for the interplay between the health education market and the health workforce to enable alignment between health workforce and education policies and programs.
In Libya, efforts to design labour market policies which better align with the health education market are limited by an incomplete understanding of the factors which shape the education market, and how these in turn influence the health workforce. Progress in this space is further hampered by a lack of technical guidance on the operational aspects of analysing health professional education markets.
Assessment of the health professional education market provides information on the impact of investments in health professional education on the supply (quantity and quality) of new health professionals at national or local levels, enabling consideration of the roles played by the attractiveness of health professional careers; the level of public subsidy and out of pocket costs , the quality of the experience of the education itself, and the roles played by changes in competing opportunities in alternative types of professional education and the convertibility of professional qualifications obtained for other careers including outside the local or national levels for which the investments were targeted
The objectives of this work are to:
- Elaborate an appropriate methodology to guide health professional education market assessments in low and middle income countries including generic components and variable components responsive to local context.
- Develop tools for a project in Libya that will clarify the importance of the range of factors which support and constrain the achievement of a growing health professional workforce of high quality at national and/or specific sub-national levels through investments in health professional education
Professor Barbara McPake