The last decade of the MDG era witnessed substantial focus on reaching the bottom economic quintiles in low and middle income countries. However, the inordinate focus on reducing financial risk burden and increasing coverage without sufficient focus on expanding quality of services may account for slow progress of the MDGs in many countries. Human Resources for Health underlie quality and service delivery improvements, yet remains under-addressed in many national strategies to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Without adequate investments in improving and expanding health professional education, making and sustaining gains will be unlikely. The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with exciting new financing initiatives such as the Global Financing Facility brings the potential to enact substantial gains in the quality of services delivered and upgrading human health resources. This focus should ensure effective methodologies to improve health worker competencies and change practice are employed and ineffective and harmful ones eliminated (including undue influence of commercial interests).
Keywords: Health systems; Millennium Development Goals; Sustainable Development Goals; maternal and child health; policy; priority setting; quality of care.
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