• health system;
  • health workers;
  • human resources;
  • Millennium Development Goals;
  • indigenous


A strong health system is impossible without health workers who are the ultimate resource. Money and medical supplies are needed, but these inputs require an efficient workforce. Challenges with respect to human resources vary greatly between and within countries, and are associated with the political, economical, cultural and societal context of a country. Moreover, the gaps in the workforce do not generally relate to doctors but to nurses and other classes of health worker who make up the bulk of health workforce. The difficulties caused by low staff numbers are compounded by morale problems, skill imbalances and geographical maldistribution. This paper will discuss how it is difficult for the United Arab Emirates (UAE, a Middle East federation country) to wrestle effectively with the demands of a good health system, exploring how they lack the basis of health systems—motivated, trained and supported people. Additionally, we looked at how the UAE health system further challenged by negative work environment, and weak knowledge-base, out-migration and inadequate investment. At the end of our discussion, we are providing some suggestions to manage human resource problems in the UAE. Highlighting how a national workforce strategic plan is important to guide investments in human resources as the core component of strengthening the UAE national health system. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.