chapter  8
32 Pages

Exploring the Gendered Dimensions of Human Resources for Health


The World Health Report (WHR) 2006 puts forward an inclusive defi nition of health workers:

”Health workers are all people primarily engaged in actions with the primary intent of enhancing health.” This is consistent with the WHO defi nition of health systems as comprising all activities with the primary goal of improving health-inclusive of family caregivers, patient-provider partners, part-time workers (especially women), health volunteers and community workers. (WHO, 2006, p. xvi)

The plurality of health workers mentioned refl ects the broad and diverse nature of health care tasks that exist, integrated by the division of medical labor specifi c to each country’s health system. The hierarchies that mark and coordinate such a diverse health workforce are determined by technical needs, but also refl ect power relations that structure health systems.