[Excerpt from authors]The early decades of the 21st century are considered to be the era of human resources for health (HRH). The World Health Report (WHR) 2006 launched the Health Workforce Decade (2006-2015), with high priority given for countries to develop effective workforce policies and strategies. In many countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), particularly those classified as Low and Low-Middle Income Countries (LMICs), the limited knowledge about the nature, scope, composition and needs of HRH is hindering health sector reform. This highlights an urgent need to understand the current reality of HRH in several EMR countries. The objectives of this paper are to:(1) lay out the facts on what we know about the HRH for EMR countries;(2) generate and interpret evidence on the relationship between HRH and health status indicators for LMICs and middle and high income countries (MHICs) in the context of EMR;(3) identify and analyze the information gaps (i.e. what we do not know) and(4) provide forward thinking by identifying priorities for research and policy.