Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Understanding human resources for health recruitment and deployment in post-conflict settings

Lead: Dr Alvaro Alonso-Garbayo

Group of smiling men an d women standing on the steps of a building
The District Health Management Team and researchers in Ermera district

Purpose of the research

This study builds on ReBUILD’s work on the evolution of human resource (HR) management policies and practices for staff recruitment and deployment during and after conflict or crisis.  This study aims to improve understanding of how both recruitment and deployment policies, processes and practices contribute to an effective health workforce coverage after conflict in Timor Leste, including a gender and equity lens.


Countries and policy context

Timor Leste experienced 24 years of conflict before gaining independence from Indonesia in 2002. Since then, recruitment and deployment systems have been key to the rehabilitation of the health workforce, and continue to play an important role in ensuring that the appropriate health workers are attracted and incorporated into an expanding health system. 


A woman in a white coat examines a child in a bedExpected areas of influence

The project is primarily working with the Timor Leste Ministry of Health. The project also links to other government agencies such as the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Education. With the engagement of these stakeholders, it is expected that findings from the study will feed into the development of annual human resources for health (HRH) operational plans, and may help to include a focus on gender and equity. 

The results will be also useful in countries at similar stages in developing workforce plans, but the historical perspective will be of particular interest to those rebuilding their health workforce following conflict or crisis.  We will use the Global Heath Workforce Network and our connections with WHO headquarters and regional offices to feed into the monitoring process of the implementation of the ‘Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030’.

Development partners and the donor community will also benefit from the results of this study by understanding where their investment in the workforce could yield better returns.  


Young doctors examining a patient in Los Palos


A stakeholder engagement exercise was carried out in April 2017.  Ethical approval was received from LSTM and Timor Leste authorities.  A document review was carried out to identify changes in relevant policies over the study period which also informed the development of topic guides for interviewing health workers, managers and key informants.  All interviews have now been completed and are being transcribed and translated for analysis. Collection of quantitative workforce indicators to assess the impact of recruitment and deployment systems on workforce effective coverage is ongoing.


Resource lists

Resources from ReBUILD's work on human resources for health.