Health Workforce Productivity: An Approach for Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement

A family planning consultation at the Mathare North Health Centre in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2013).

Given the global health worker crisis, now more than ever there is a critical need to improve the productivity of the existing health workforce and maximize service delivery efficiencies to ensure quality family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH), HIV and AIDS, maternal and child health, and other health services as well as further progress towards universal health coverage. This course explores some basic concepts of health workforce productivity, including providing brief descriptions of the following:

  • A quantitative, formulaic approach for measuring health workforce productivity at the facility level,
  • Possible underlying causes of low productivity and methods to measure them, and
  • Potential interventions to improve health workforce productivity and strengthen FP/RH, HIV/AIDS, and other health services.


NOTE: This course will NOT broadly cover productivity theory. It will explore the productivity of health workers at the facility level, NOT the productivity of an entire health system.


Intended audience:

  • Health program and facility managers and supervisors
  • District/regional/provincial health management teams
  • Human resources for health managers
  • Individuals providing technical assistance to those mentioned above
  • Individuals with a general interest in learning about health workforce productivity


At the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Provide a definition of health workforce productivity
  • Understand one approach for measuring health workforce productivity at the facility level
  • Explain some of the possible underlying causes of low health workforce productivity
  • List possible interventions to consider when seeking to improve health workforce productivity


The authors are grateful for the valuable contributions from the following reviewers: Ottar Maestad and Lars Ivar Berge Oppedal from the Chr. Michelsen Institute; Jim Shelton, Lois Schaefer, Temitayo Ifafore, and Diana Frymus of USAID; and Allison Annette Foster and Tana Wuliji of University Research Co., LLC. 

Additional thanks to Sara Mazursky, Jarret Cassaniti, Nandini Jayarajan, and Lisa Mwaikambo of the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project for their support of course management, and to Carol Bales of IntraHealth International for copyediting.


  • 2 hours


  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Course Authors: 

  • Rachel Deussom, CapacityPlus/IntraHealth International

  • Wanda Jaskiewicz, CapacityPlus/IntraHealth International

Course Managers: 

  • Nandini Jayarajan, CCP

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