Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate the gap between the available and the ideal supply of human resources (physicians, nurses, and health promoters) to deliver the guaranteed package of prevention and health promotion services at urban and rural primary care facilities in Mexico.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional observational study using a convenience sample. We selected 20 primary health facilities in urban and rural areas in 10 states of Mexico. We calculated the available and the ideal supply of human resources in these facilities using estimates of time available, used, and required to deliver health prevention and promotion services. We performed descriptive statistics and bivariate hypothesis testing using Wilcoxon and Friedman tests. Finally, we conducted a sensitivity analysis to test whether the non-normal distribution of our time variables biased estimation of available and ideal supply of human resources.
Results: The comparison between available and ideal supply for urban and rural primary health care facilities reveals a low supply of physicians. On average, primary health care facilities are lacking five physicians when they were estimated with time used and nine if they were estimated with time required (P < 0.05). No difference was observed between available and ideal supply of nurses in either urban or rural primary health care facilities. There is a shortage of health promoters in urban primary health facilities (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The available supply of physicians and health promoters is lower than the ideal supply to deliver the guaranteed package of prevention and health promotion services. Policies must address the level and distribution of human resources in primary health facilities.
References Alcalde-Rabanal, J. E., Nigenda, G., Barnighausen, T., Velasco-Mondragon, H. E., & Darney, B. G. (2017). The gap in human resources to deliver the guaranteed package of prevention and health promotion services at urban and rural primary care facilities in mexico. Human Resources for Health, 15 [Article 49].