Current Cardiology Reports

, 17:115 | Cite as

Healthcare Professional Shortage and Task-Shifting to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: Implications for Low- and Middle-Income Countries

  • Lungiswa Primrose Tsolekile
  • Shafika Abrahams-Gessel
  • Thandi PuoaneEmail author
Public Health Policy (TA Gaziano, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Public Health Policy


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) account for 18 million of annual global deaths with more than three quarters of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). In LMIC, the distribution of risk factors is heterogeneous, with urban areas being the worst affected. Despite the availability of effective CVD interventions in developed countries, many poor countries still struggle to provide care due to lack of resources. In addition, many LMIC suffer from staff shortages which pose additional burden to the healthcare system. Regardless of these challenges, there are potentially effective strategies such as task-shifting which have been used for chronic conditions such as HIV to address the human resource crisis. We propose that through task-shifting, certain tasks related to prevention be shifted to non-physician health workers as well as non-nurse health workers such as community health workers. Such steps will allow better coverage of segments of the underserved population. We recognise that for task-shifting to be effective, issues such as clearly defined roles, evaluation, on-going training, and supervision must be addressed.


Healthcare staff shortages Cardiovascular disease Task-shifting Nurses Community health workers Low- and middle-income countries 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

L.P. Tsolekile, S. Abrahams-Gessel and T. Puoane declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lungiswa Primrose Tsolekile
    • 1
  • Shafika Abrahams-Gessel
    • 2
  • Thandi Puoane
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.Center for Health Decision ScienceHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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