The Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative (HWAI) is the civil-society led advocacy network of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA). HWAI’s purpose is to advocate for the policies and sustained investments necessary to develop and empower a health workforce capable of delivering on health goals. HWAI operates with the firm conviction that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of health and that an effective health workforce is central to fulfilling this right. It’s against this background that every effort is needed to make this right a reality for all, whether health care service providers or receivers.
This toolkit was created by the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative, the civil society-led network of the Global Health Workforce Alliance. The purpose of this toolkit is to assist health professionals, health professional associations, and civil society organizations to develop advocacy strategies to address human resource and health financing issues in their countries.
Health workers play a myriad of roles in the community. They are healers, counselors and leaders. They interact with all members of the community, from children to the elderly. As such, health workers possess a unique opportunity to be powerful and effective advocates for change that will benefit the communities they serve, ranging from increasing the availability of treatment, to improving the quality of the health facility, to improving the conditions within which health consumers seek care and within which health workers provide it.
Critically, the quantity and quality of health professionals throughout the country has an immediate and drastic effect on the quality of care provided to communities. Doctors, nurses, clinicians and other health professionals in sub-Saharan Africa are on the frontline of the struggle to address a massive shortage of health workers and to improve the quality of care for millions. Health workers are in a powerful position: they understand the complexities of the health workforce shortage, and know what it will take to make real progress.
Purpose of this Toolkit
- This toolkit is designed to assist you as health professionals and civil society organizations to translate that firsthand knowledge into an effective advocacy strategy. Each of the following eight sections outlines a key step in using your experience and knowledge to influence health workforce policies in your country, and to improve your ability to provide essential care and the community’s ability to access it.
- Although this toolkit is arranged in eight sections, which correspond to eight basic steps in developing an advocacy strategy, the actual process of developing an advocacy strategy is rarely linear. This toolkit is meant to be a basic guide, but it is okay to move back and forth between sections and steps as needed to meet your needs.
- Because the policy and advocacy environment in each country or region is different, this toolkit contains flexible and adaptable tools that coalitions can use to develop their own targeted strategies, and to affect the change most needed in your place of work and your country. The information in this toolkit provides a general background and adaptable tools and techniques—it is up to you to put this toolkit into action, identifying your country’s needs, your solutions, and how to make them happen.
In this toolkit, you will find background information on advocacy and the health workforce that should be helpful as you plan your advocacy campaign. The toolkit is organized into chapters that correspond to the process a coalition might follow in developing an advocacy campaign. Each section has basic explanations of key advocacy considerations as well as sample worksheets and background documents that can be used by coalitions to support the planning process.