A scoping review of mentorship of health personnel to improve the quality of health care in low and middle-income countries

Global Health. 2017 Oct 3;13(1):77. doi: 10.1186/s12992-017-0301-1.


Background: Most Low and Middle-Income Countries are facing a crisis in human resources for health which compromises their ability to meet health related targets outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals. The crisis is not limited to the availability of health personnel but also the quality of care and the training and development of the workforce. To address these challenges, evidence based education strategies are urgently required. Mentorship has been found to improve health personnel performance in High-Income Countries however, little is known about its role in Low and Middle-Income Countries. To address this gap in understanding, we conducted a scoping review of the current literature.

Methods: CINAHL, EMBASE and OVID Medline were systematically searched along with grey literature for peer-reviewed research papers specific to the research question. A six-step scoping review framework was utilised to identify the relevant literature and summarise the pertinent findings.

Results: The initial search identified 592 records, and five papers, reporting on four studies, were retained for data charting and extraction. All four studies described a positive effect of mentorship on the quality of care outcomes. The results are collated according to features of the intervention including mentor training, mentor-mentee ratios, mentorship model, intervention intensity and key findings in terms of outcome measures.

Conclusions: This review identifies a paucity of evidence of mentorship in this context however, current evidence supports the assertion that effective mentorship contributes to the improvement of certain quality of care outcomes. The features of successful mentorship interventions are outlined and the implications are discussed in the context of existing evidence.

Keywords: Health personnel; LMICs; Mentorship; Quality of care; Scoping review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Workforce*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Mentoring / standards*
  • Mentors
  • Quality of Health Care*