Midwifery students listen to a lecture at the School of Midwifery, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.

Midwifery students listen to a lecture at the School of Midwifery, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.
Photo credit: Joseph Eton for CapacityPlus and IntraHealth International, Courtesy of Photoshare


Economic growth and development depend on a healthy population. Demand for health care is projected to create around 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030. Despite this anticipated increased need, there is a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers, primarily in low- and lower middle-income countries. Health worker shortages, especially in remote and unstable areas, make it challenging to access preventive and essential care, leading to preventable illness or death. Countries at all levels of socioeconomic development face challenges with education, deployment and retention of health workers, making it essential to use the existing workforce efficiently and effectively.

USAID has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to human resources for health (HRH). We support countries in developing a health workforce that is equally distributed and accessible to the population, and we work to ensure that health workers have the skills and motivation to deliver culturally acceptable care.

Agency investments in HRH help achieve our global health goals by:

  • increasing the utilization and efficiency of the workforce in service delivery
  • demonstrating the socioeconomic impact of investments beyond health
  • promoting the production of a workforce that meets the skill-mix needs for service delivery
  • working with country stakeholders and human resource managers to overcome recruitment, deployment and retention challenges that hinder service delivery
  • strengthening availability and use of HRH data for health decisions, investments in national human resource information systems, and roll-out WHO National Health Workforce Accounts.