Health Systems and Registries

Human Resources for Health Observatory

Visit the Palestinian National HRH Observatory at

The health workforce plays a major role in determining the quality of health care services in a country. However, the WHO estimates a global shortage of 12.9 million health workers in the coming decade. As a result, many countries are shifting their focus towards human resources for health (HRH) and several have built HRH observatories to address this challenge. An HRH observatory is a web-based health information system that collects and reports on information about health professionals. It helps countries identify health workforce challenges and gaps, design strategies for improvement, allocate the workforce geographically, and develop informed health policies. 

Data on the health workforce in Palestine has traditionally focused on licensed health professionals, with limited information on those actually employed in facilities. Data from multiple producers has resulted in conflicting numbers, often presenting duplications and missing data from the private sector. To overcome this data fragmentation and improve overall data quality, the Palestinian National Institute of Public Health (PNIPH) was tasked with establishing and hosting the Palestinian National HRH Observatory in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization in Palestine, UNRWA, Military Health Services, local health syndicates, and other major health service providers. The Observatory, launched in July 2019, functions as a hub for data collection and analysis, enables the dissemination of national indicators on HRH, and serves as a coordination platform for health providers and policy makers.

To map the availability and distribution of the Palestinian health workforce, an assessment of the current HRH situation was conducted through the first-ever nation-wide survey of all registered health facilities, including hospitals, PHC centers, general and specialized clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, dentistry clinics, rehabilitation centers, and centers providing psychological care. All health workers found practicing at the time of the visit were surveyed utilizing their national identification numbers to eliminate duplications.

What makes the Palestinian HRH observatory unique?

  • National indicators are publicly accessible through the observatory and will be updated annually, monitoring trends over time. 
  • Health institutions have access to the system and can utilize it as an internal management system.
  • The Observatory allows for comparisons between health professionals registered at different health syndicates and those actually working to better understand and improve availability and distribution of health workers.

The HRH Observatory, through sustainable means of connecting with stakeholders and partners, will gather and report on HRH national indicators on an annual basis, to allow for proper monitoring of HRH stocks and trends, and provide policy makers with evidence to develop the first national HRH strategy.

The Palestinian National HRH Observatory is a significant milestone in the development of the Palestinian health sector, and, as one of the first countries in the region to develop an HRH observatory, demonstrates Palestine’s leadership in advancing the focus on the health workforce and human resources in health.


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