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A needs assessment of primary care workers in rural Bolivia

Cantrell, Mark A. (2017) A needs assessment of primary care workers in rural Bolivia. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The United Nations has recognized it is a fundamental human right for all to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. To achieve this, countries must have a capable, supported, and motivated health workforce in the appropriate numbers and location. However, in low-resource settings poor health worker performance, and an insufficient and poorly distributed workforce, fail to adequately meet the needs of the population. This is especially true in rural areas of developing countries where communities generally have poorer health, less education, lower socioeconomic standing, and less access to health care compared to urban communities.
Bolivia is a developing country with extreme health and social disparities, and an inequitable distribution of the health workforce in rural areas. The purpose of this thesis was to assess the needs of community-based, primary care workers in a rural Bolivian municipality to develop recommendations for continuing professional development programs for workers to increase their performance in low-resource setting. This was achieved through a combination of health worker surveys, key informant interviews, and a review of the literature.
Overall, results indicated health workers had unmet needs in continuing education, advancement opportunities, professional development opportunities, building conditions, salary, clinical and office furnishings, medical supplies, and job recognition. What’s more, survey participants identified opportunities for continuing education, and training and development programs as the most important areas for health establishment improvement. A review of the literature supports the promise of tailored, continuous professional development (CPD) programs using information and communication technology (ICT) to increase the performance of health workers in low-resource countries. CPD is essential for health workers everywhere to maintain competence, improve performance, provide quality care, and meet changing health needs. However, offering CPD programs alone does not satisfy all worker needs and interventions should be combined to maximize health worker performance. The results from this thesis contribute to the public health literature by demonstrating the demand for CPD programs and the acceptability of ICT. Well-designed CPD programs are needed for community-based, primary care workers’ in rural areas to maximize worker performance and improve the health of underserved populations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cantrell, Mark A.mac304@pitt.edumac304
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDocumet, Patricia I.pdocumet@pitt.edupdocumet
Committee MemberRussell, Joanne L.joanner@pitt.edujoanner
Committee MemberNelson, Paul J.pjnelson@pitt.edupjnelson
Date: 24 February 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 December 2016
Approval Date: 24 February 2017
Submission Date: 28 November 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 77
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Needs assessment, rural health workers, Bolivia
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 16:32
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2017 06:15


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