Our Work


Sub-Saharan Africa faces a severe healthcare worker shortage and an inequitable distribution of existing healthcare workers. After over 10 years of addressing healthcare worker undersupply by setting up an impactful training program (learn more here), we became acutely aware of another challenge that exacerbates threats caused by the healthcare worker shortage: healthcare workers were being allocated across Tanzania without a consistent, needs-based approach. This magnifies the existing gaps in healthcare access. 

Healthcare worker deployment is complicated by undersupply and limited funds available for staff salaries. Moreover, centralized systems to help “match” healthcare workers to facilities that need them most generally do not exist. We created POA, a data-driven system, to support governments and other workforce planners in placing scarce healthcare workers to ensure they are equitably distributed.


Our Prioritization and Optimization Analysis (POA) system uses government data to suggest optimal deployments of healthcare workers at the touch of a button. The solution considers existing health system realties (including budgets, health worker supply, and service standards) and provide data-driven recommendations on equitable healthcare worker placement. 



  • Tanzania: We have been working with the Government of Tanzania since 2015 to implement the POA tool county-wideThe solution has been integrated into the Government’s IT systems, adopted as policy, and is being used to deploy healthcare workers throughout the country every year.
  • HIV/AIDS Services: Eastern and Southern Africa have the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world, but these regions are limited in their healthcare workforce. Dignified and accessible HIV/AIDS diagnosis and treatment starts with the healthcare professionalSo, since 2018, we have worked with our partners at USAID to use the POA tool in countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Nigeria to support the distribution of healthcare workers to improve equitable access to HIV/AIDS services.

POA takes a holistic approach to equitable healthcare worker distribution:

  • Workforce Planner Partnerships: Our partnership with local governments and other workforce planners ensures we are able to tailor the tool to unique constraints and service delivery models, respond to feedback, and ensure a user-friendly system. 
  • Expanding Proven Methods: We adapted The World Health Organization’s Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) tool, which provides a systematic method for calculating the need for healthcare workers based on each healthcare facility’s workload. POA builds upon WISN to provide actionable data-driven recommendations on where to place healthcare workers, given existing constraints and the need that WISN calculates.