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Table 3 Potential intended and unintended effects of task shifting for HIV on the health system as a whole

From: Exploring the effects of task shifting for HIV through a systems thinking lens: the case of Burkina Faso


Sub-system involved

Health outcomes

Better adherence to treatment and reduced loss to follow up[11].

Service delivery

Good clinical outcomes and better survival rates [11].

Service delivery

Crowding out of other services where health workers or facilities shift their attention to the new tasks [20, 21].

Service delivery; HRH; Health information

Supply side

Staff burnout due to workload, for example, due to maldistribution of trained health workers, or additional time to fill HMIS records [20, 22].

HRH; Governance; Health information

Lack of motivation or staff turnover due to lack of incentives (financial or non-financial) for staff to expand their role [2123].

HRH; Financing; service delivery; Governance

Staff turnover due to lack of career path (e.g., promotion or certification of acquiring the new skills) to address motivation and retention [12].

HRH; Governance

Low performance due to selecting health workers (for the training) who are not motivated or interested in the strategy [12].

HRH; Governance; service delivery

Job satisfaction due to acquiring new skills and responsibilities.


Tension within health teams about roles and responsibilities and hierarchies, especially with newly developed health cadres [11].

Governance; HRH

Staff lack of confidence in performing additional tasks due to insufficient training or supportive supervision.

Governance-HRH-service delivery

Staff insecurity when staff do not have legal backing for the additional tasks, impeding them from taking new responsibilities [7, 23].

Governance; HRH

Professional protectionism due to concerns for being undermined [7, 11, 23, 24]

Governance; HRH

Staff frustration due to unavailability of medicines and supplies for diagnostic tests.

Medicines and technology; HRH; Governance; health information

Cost implications due to the required supportive supervision and need for new or refresher training to ensure good quality care [7, 11, 22, 25].

Financing; HRH

Inefficiencies and poor performance due to over referral, higher use of resources (ordering more lab tests) or lower productivity (longer consultation time) [7, 11].

Financing; service delivery; HRH

Efficiencies through saving time of senior staff to spend on non-HIV patients or HIV patients with complications and increased utilization at same costs [11].

Financing; HRH; service delivery

Implications on financing of health care due to top up of salaries or hiring new cadres.

Financing; HRH

Demand side

Better services for patients due to immediate attention, longer consultation including counselling [7].

Service delivery; HRH

Patient satisfaction due to reduction in waiting time [11].

Service delivery

Better access to HIV services due to services close to home [11].

Governance; Service delivery

Inequitable access to HIV care if plans to scale up are not well distributed or do not target remote and rural areas.

Governance; Service delivery

Implications on financing of health care due to change in out of pocket expenditures [26].