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Title: Human Resources for Health (HRH)
Keywords: Planning and programming
Human Resources
Health systems
Country: Netherlands
Institution: The Netherlands - Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam
Course coordinator: N. Tromp
Date start: 2023-02-13
Date end: 2023-02-24
About duration and dates: 2 weeks full time face to face - open book exam on the last day of the course.
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Distance-based
Course location:
If not in the application institute

KIT Amsterdam (Royal Tropical Institute)
PO Box 95001, 1090 HA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31-20-5688256
tropEd representative: L. Gerstel (
ECTS credit points: 3 ECTS credits
SIT: Student Investment Hours (SIT): 84 hrs
Contact hours: 21 hours (majority sessions of 1,5 hours)
Self-study hours: 63 hours including 8 hours study time for the exam
Language: English
Description: At the end of the module the participants should be able to:
1. Critically assess training programmes for health workers and provide appropriate recommendations for improvement
2. Critically appraise staff performance, identify performance problems and recommend appropriate solutions
3. Analyse organisational behaviour and discuss strategic options and leadership styles for change in a culturally sensitive manner
4. Discuss various strategies to assure sufficient and qualified staff that is equitably distributed (related to issues such as geography, gender, age, …)
5. Explain the concept of human resources for health, and analyse and discuss the different aspects of human resources in the health sector
Assessment Procedures: ● Assessment is summative, and an online written exam. The students, in principle, will be physically together in a classroom when taking the exam and will be supervised. In case one or more take the exam online due to Covid-related or other circumstances, they will be digitally supervised (proctoring).
● Students receive a 3 hour open book exam, with essay-type questions and short case studies to analyse HRH problems, to identify implications and critically describe potential interventions. This assessment method corresponds with the learning objectives, contents and learning methods.
● The exam is marked and marks are shared with students no later than 15 working days after the exam. This is followed by a plenary feedback session during which the exam questions and the answers are presented. When students feel the need, they can make a separate appointment to individually inspect and discuss their exam with the module coordinator.
● Marks are rounded to nearest 0.0 or 0.5; no 5.5 mark is given. The exam requires a pass (>6.0). When they fail (mark < 5.0), students are required to do a re-sit. Students with a pass-mark can still opt to resit (within a month after end of the module) to improve their mark; the latest mark counts.
● An example of an exam question is added at the end of this form. Students get explained in class during the module that during the exam they receive similar essay questions as they receive during their group work in class.
Content: Module contents:
● Introduction to Human Resources for Health
● Health labour market and strategic planning of Human Resources for Health
● Workload
● Migration, retention, motivation and performance of health workers
● Governance and HRH
● Gender and rights in HRH policy and practice
● Training
● Leadership and organisational change
● HRH financing and fiscal space analysis
Methods: Interactive lectures (21 hours): the learning units have 1.5 hours to allow more room for self-study. The aim is to let students prepare themselves better by having on forehand an recorded introductory lecture with key concepts and principles of the learning unit and to limit the classroom sessions to interactive teaching (exercises, Q&A, plenary discussions)
Most sessions include the following methods: Introductory lectures (recorded or in class), group exercises, plenary discussions. One session has a role play, one session has a debate and one session is a journal club (for the HRH governance session) .
In every session, the focus is on exchanging experiences and putting these experiences in the context of global evidence and a conceptual framework.
A lunch lecture on a present global health challenge (such as the session on implications of COVID pandemic among health workers facilitated by the WHO Geneva) is provided to make students more aware of how to link HRH concepts to ongoing global health challenges.
A full self-study day is planned on Thursday before the exam.
A mock exam with model answers is available for self-evaluation of knowledge and preparation for the exam.
Prerequisites: • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either medicine or another field related to health, such as health sciences, economics, social science or nursing.
• A minimum of three years of experience, including managerial responsibilities in health related services in a low resource country.
• Proven proficiency in spoken and written English academic TOEFL or IELTS test. A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required. Please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one.English level TOEFL 550 or IELTS 6.0 for applicants whose first language is not English
• KIT requires all applicants, who have not completed their education in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Philippines, India, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or who have not obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma, to enclose proof of English language proficiency in the form of the internationally recognised TOEFL or IELTS tests. We only accept official TOEFL or IELTS test results, which are not older than 3 years.
Attendance: Maximum number of participants: 65 (2 groups)
Maximum number of tropEd participants: 10
(The module is part of the Master in Public Health at KIT, therefore there is no minimum and the program will always take place, it is quite a popular module so we advice to apply soon as we often have a waiting list)
Selection: Places will be allocated on a ’first come first served’ basis
Fees: EUR 1.780
Scholarships: Orange Knowledge Programme , varies per year (
Major changes since initial accreditation: Variation in teaching methods:
At KIT we have changed our wording from ‘sessions’ to ‘learning units’, to be able to include more modern and diverse teaching methods and to go away from traditional 3 hours face to face contact time in class.

We have reduced the contact hours for most learning units from 3 to 1.5 hours to allow more room for self-study. The aim is to let students prepare themselves better by having on forehand a recorded introductory lecture with key concepts and principles of the learning unit and to limit the classroom sessions to interactive teaching (exercises, Q&A, plenary discussions). An explicit estimate of required contact hours and self-study hours per learning unit was provided to give more guidance to the students.

We reduced the required readings for each learning unit to align better with the estimated student investment time.

We have added a journal club for the HRH governance session to provide more variation in teaching methods.

A mock exam with model answers was developed for the students so they can self-evaluate their knowledge and prepare for the exam.

Based on the feedback of the students that exam questions had too many sub-questions the number of exam questions was increased but having not more than 1-2 sub questions. This made the exam questions easier to read.

Alignment topics:
We have included fiscal space analysis to the session on HRH financing to align with the global trends to look into the economic rationale to invest in the health workforce.

Based on feedback from the VU University/KIT Examination Board, we have changed the objectives of the workload session to more focus on interpretation and use of workload studies as compared to doing workload calculations itself.

We have adapted the schedule so that the exam takes place in the afternoon on the last Friday of the course and included a full self-study day the Thursday before the exam. In this way the schedule is more balanced and students have more time to digest all the teaching materials and prepare for the exam.
Student evaluation: Overall the students in the years 2016-2021 were positive about the objectives, topics and teaching methods.

Points for improvement were:
- more time to prepare for the exam.
- provision of mock exam with answers so students can practice
- the number of contact hours and sessions being quite a few for a two weeks course. It was suggested to extend from 2 to 3 weeks, or to adapt the schedule so that the first week is more heavy than the second week, or to reduce the required readings and contact time. We chose for the latter as the extension of a week does not fit in the overall MPH module of KIT.
Lessons learned: The module, its contents and teaching methods are appreciated while at the same time we needed to select specific content areas as HRH is a wide topic with a lot of sub-components. By introducing the health labour market model as the overarching model, KIT is better able to explain how the components we address during the module fit in the overall HRH model.

The introduction of the module is always jointly developed with WHO in Geneva- this facilitates embedment of our module in the global thinking on HRH.

Furthermore, organizing a lunch lecture on a present global health challenge (such as the session on implications of COVID pandemic among health workers facilitated by the WHO Geneva) makes students more aware of how to link HRH concepts to ongoing global health challenges.

Introducing at the start and summarizing at the end of the module and learning units are crucial components of a successful module.
Frequent interactive exercises and student interactions to monitor their learning experiences is important. (Especially in times of COVID-19 with full online teaching,)

The change in focus of the work load session on interpretation and use of results as compared to doing calculations matches better with the required competences that are needed in the jobs that graduates will pick up. Testing calculation competences in itself is less useful.

In line with the movement of decolonizing global health education and the developed online facilities for online teaching we are aiming to recruit more teachers from LMICs to participate in our course.

In COVID times we realised teaching online takes more time and we have to be realistic about the amount of content that will be covered during the online contact time. Presently this course is provided F2F, but we take this lesson-learnt for online education with us.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Amsterdam, Jan 2003; reaccredited in Bordeaux, Jan 2007, in Lisbon, May 2012 and in EC TelCo, Dec 2016; Re-accredited EC Telco Nov 22, 2021. Valid until Nov 2026.
Email Address:
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-01-19 02:32:38 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2012-01-19 08:44:37 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2021-11-25 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-01-04 10:44:39 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany