Sharing and shifting tasks to maintain essential healthcare during COVID-19 in low resource, non-US settings
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Sharing and shifting tasks to maintain essential healthcare during COVID-19 in low resource, non-US settings

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      Updated Oct. 14, 2020 The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a substantial burden on many healthcare systems worldwide as they struggle to treat both COVID-19 patients and maintain essential primary care services. The burden may be even greater in low-resource non-US settings, where healthcare systems are often already overtaxed and struggling to provide services to patients in need due to a shortage in the healthcare workforce. The World Health Organization (WHO) outlines two approaches to expand and ensure access to essential health services by optimizing the use of the existing healthcare workforce: task shifting and task sharing1 2. Task shifting and task sharing allow for the shifting of tasks from highly qualified healthcare workers (HCWs) to HCWs with less training and less qualifications and the sharing of tasks with an equally qualified cadre of HCWs, respectively. This allows for more efficient use of available human resources working in overburdened health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. These two strategies may be one part of a larger strategy to expand and strengthen health system capacity to increase access to COVID-19 care while maintaining essential health services. Additionally, these strategies can help protect and maintain the health and wellbeing of the healthcare workforce by reducing their workload and strategically using staff who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in a way that decreases their risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • Content Notes:
      Purpose -- Target Audience -- Definitions -- Basics of Task Sharing and Task Shifting -- Steps to Consider for Implementation of Task Shifting or Sharing -- Annex I. Sample Delegation Decision-Making Tree -- Annex II -- Annex III. Resources and Relevant Sites -- References
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