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Look To Policy, Local Solutions To Build Health Workforce Amid Health Worker Shortages

Devex: Opinion: Nurses are coming out of retirement to fight HIV
Margarite Nathe, senior editor and writer on the communications and advocacy team at IntraHealth International

“…[Pamela McQuide, IntraHealth’s country director in Namibia,] and her team have three recommendations for other countries working to creatively build fit-for-purpose health workforces in the midst of health worker shortages. They have learned to first review policy, which may be unintentionally holding the health workforce back. In Namibia, the mandatory retirement age may be keeping plenty of nurses who are eager to keep working out of the workforce, even as the country desperately needs them. Interventions should also look locally first. Homegrown health workers are crucial to maintaining trust within their communities and are the most sustainable solution to the shortage. Finally, find creative ways to put experience to work. In Namibia, the team has found that many clients immediately trust and respect older nurses, whose age and experience are unparalleled assets when it comes to HIV care — and health services of all kinds” (8/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.