Health professional education and universal health coverage: A summary of challenges and selected case studies

Arthika Sripathy, Joachim Marti, Hannah Patel, Javaid Sheikh, Ara W. Darzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Low- and middle-income countries are experiencing serious shortages in meeting health workforce requirements for universal health coverage. We examine how national-level policies can address these deficiencies and support the development of an appropriately skilled health workforce in line with population needs. We discuss three innovative, government-led solutions that are designed to align health workforce training with the demands of universal health coverage. Specifically, we discuss two initiatives to train and retain doctors in rural areas of Thailand, the large-scale training of community health workers within multidisciplinary primary health care teams in Brazil, and the introduction of a postgraduate diploma program in primary care for nurses in India. Several positive outcomes have been associated with these initiatives, including improvements in the rural retention of doctors in Thailand and reductions in infant and child mortality rates in Brazil. However, further research is needed to assess the impact of such initiatives on the long-term retention of workers-particularly doctors-and the adequacy of the training offered to lower-skilled workers to effectively plug medical personnel gaps. Systematic monitoring of program affordability and cost-effectiveness over time must be prioritized, alongside efforts to disseminate lessons learned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1936
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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