Health systems across Africa, severely weakened by a profound lack of human resources, are limited in their capacity to uphold the right to health and provide quality care to the neediest populations.
One innovative and affordable solution, which has been pioneered by several sub-Saharan African countries, is the use of mid-level providers, including assistant medical officers, clinical officers, surgical technicians, and midwives who provide emergency obstetric care. Mid-level providers, also referred to as non-physician clinicians, have been delivering essential clinical services in countries around the globe for decades, as part of a comprehensive health workforce system which includes doctors, nurses, midwives, managers and administrators. Despite this, little research has been done on the potential of mid-level providers and they are virtually invisible in policy discussions.
Aiming to highlight their crucial role in health care delivery, the Health Systems Strengthening for Equity (HSSE): The Power and Potential of Mid-Level Providers project was launched in 2007.