WHO Recommendations – OPTIMIZEMNH

Optimizing health worker roles for maternal and newborn health

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Background: A more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health workers may improve access to maternal and newborn care.

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For example, ‘mid-level’ and ‘lay’ health workers can be trained and enabled to perform specific interventions otherwise provided only by cadres with longer (and sometimes more specialized) training.

Aim of the WHO recommendations: To help address critical health workforce shortages that slow down progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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Interactive overview of recommendations: Users can browse by:


Type of Recommendation (for example, whether WHO recommends the intervention, or recommends against the intervention)

Type of Intervention (for example, whether the intervention is delivered during pregnancy or delivered after birth). For each recommendation, users can also obtain more information on the justification provided by WHO and can obtain the full text of the recommendation, including the evidence base and implementation considerations.

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These recommendations are intended for: health policy-makers, managers, and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level. The recommendations were developed through a formal, structured process including a thorough review of available evidence (Main guidance document). Countries and agencies need to adapt the recommendations to meet local needs and priorities (Annex 8).