Washington, D.C., USA, June 28 - 30, 2010
PALTEX is a program that acquires, produces, and sells quality textbooks and instructional materials at affordable prices, representing an incentive for students and health workers to use them in the Americas.
Based on this experience, a similar and custom-made initiative could be developed for low-income countries in Africa, ensuring access for students, teachers and professionals to essential educational and reference materials (e.g. textbooks, learning materials, diagnostic equipment, computers, models/dummies for strengthening skills labs/clinical demonstration rooms etc.) with the aim of strengthening both education and practice.
The overall objective of this initiative of technical cooperation among PAHO/AMRO, WHO/AFRO and WHO/HQ is to assess the feasibility of establishing a textbook and instructional materials program to strengthening health sciences education in the African Region based on the experience of the PALTEX program in the American Region.
The Expanded Textbook and Instructional Materials Program (PALTEX) was created in 1966 with the purpose of improving the quality of health sciences’ education and its practice in Latin America. For more than 40 years, the PALTEX program has acquired, produced, and sold at affordable prices nearly six million books and educational tools to students and health professionals physicians, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, etc.) at 550 institutions in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Over the last 3 years, there has been a common interest between WHO/AMRO, WHO/AFRO and WHO/HQ to establish a formal dialogue aimed at exploring the feasibility of establishing a similar initiative in the African Region. This is in recognition of the extreme need for these teaching and learning materials in most of the African health sciences education and training institutions.
This technical cooperation is in line with strategic objective number 13 in the PAHO/AMRO Strategic Plan 2008-2012 to ensure an available, responsive and productive health workforce to improve health outcomes. It also contributes to WHO's strategic plan expected result, OWER 10.9 that supports the building of capabilities, with a focus on countries with critical health workforce shortages, to improve the production, distribution, skill mix and retention of their health workforce. In addition, it could be an important pillar in the implementation of the Strategy of Scaling up of Health workers according to WHA and AFRO Regional Committee resolutions on that item. In this context, it would be likely that a resolution could be developed, depending on the results of a feasibility study.
WHO was awarded a grant from the EC for 2009-11 for strengthening health workforce development and tackling the critical shortage of health workers. One of the activities under this grant includes a feasibility study for the establishment of a fund to facilitate access of health profession students to textbooks, diagnostic equipment and educational resources in the WHO African Region. The study aims to explore the feasibility of transferring an approach such as PALTEX to the region.
- Share perspectives on health science education in WHO American and Africa Regions
- Present the PALTEX experience of WHO/AMRO and discuss needs and possibilities for the WHO Africa Region
- Analyze and agree if the program and its core characteristics are relevant for the African environment
- Agree on the scope and general design of a study to assess the feasibility of introducing an approach similar to PALTEX in the African Region.