Strengthening Human Resources for Health: Future Contributions to Malawi’s Infectious Disease Preparedness. A Literature Review.
The strength of a national healthcare system and its ability to respond to infectious disease pandemics is dependent on its human resources for health (HRH). Through a comprehensive literature review, this paper seeks to assess human resources for health in the nation of Malawi and identify key challenges and leverage points for improving its pandemic preparedness. An indiscriminate search of the literature revealed that poor HRH density due to poor renumeration and emigration and a disproportionate dispersion of HRH in urban versus rural regions are key challenges in the nation of Malawi. Utilizing Malawi's approach to the HIV pandemic and lessons from other Sub-Saharan African countries, this paper proposes three policy recommendations: improving the use of non-physician clinicians in healthcare settings, encouraging the deployment and retention of HRH in rural regions, and improving monetary incentives to avoid emigration of HRH. These policies can help Malawi to develop a resilient healthcare workforce with the capacity to effectively manage a future infectious disease pandemic.