Human resource is one of the most important components of health systems. Support for human resources planning for health ranks low on the health policy agenda of many national governments and international agencies. The aim of this study is to present various existing methodologies for estimating the health manpower requirement and forecasting approaches and to discuss some of the methodological challenges, their potential advantages, limitations and indications for their use. The most common approaches which were used for estimating man power requirement are health needs based, demand based, service targets based and health manpower to population ratio. These approaches use different assumptions and require distinct data sets for estimating requirement of human resource for health. Depending on need, health planners have modified four basic methods described above, and developed an alternative approaches for estimating as well as forecasting health manpower requirement and some of them have been discussed in details. Estimating the requirement and forecasting the health manpower is the most difficult but essential task for planners. Any assessment of the optimal number of health manpower, regardless of the specific method used, is bound to have a large range of uncertainty. Hence, any country considering requirement and forecasting of health manpower can deviate from intentions in either direction. The main concern must be to have the right number and appropriate mix and distribution of health manpower to provide quality health care service to achieve positive health outcomes.
Key words: Methods, estimating health manpower requirement, forecasting health manpower requirement, human resources for health, health work-force
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