[Excerpt from author]Imbalances in quantity and quality of human resources for health (HRH) are increasingly recognized as perhaps the most critical impediment to achieving health outcome objectives in most African countries. However, reliable data on the HRH situation is not readily available. Some countries have hesitated to act in the absence of such data; other countries have not acted even when data are available while others have moved ahead in spite of the lack of reliable information. This paper addresses the issue of data use for HRH policy-making. It will provide valuable information to the body of literature available to policy-makers and their development partners as they grapple with the development and implementation of workable HRH policies.