|Caribbean Health Officials Seek Common Strategy for Health Workforce Development|
Health officials and academicians are meeting this week (March 19 and 20) in Bridgetown, Barbados, to develop a new strategy for preparing the Caribbean health workforce to address the changing health needs of their populations.
The meeting will seek a consensus on a “Road Map for Strengthening Human Resources for Health in the Caribbean,” which will serve as a framework to improve management and training of health personnel over the next five years (2012 to 2017). Participants will seek agreement on how best to prepare the subregion’s health workforce to address new challenges, particularly aging populations and increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The meeting is being organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) with financial support from the Ministry of Health of the United Kingdom.
The new Road Map will seek to re-orient professional competencies and re-organize work processes and standards toward primary health care, disease prevention, and management of long-term chronic health conditions. The document will guide policies on planning and management of health personnel in Caribbean countries as well as on the training needed to update and enhance workforce skills.
The meeting will also provide guidance for coordinating activities among countries and regional institutions in human resources training. The document is part of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH) Phase 3 and PAHO’s Caribbean Country Cooperation Strategy.
In the Caribbean, gains in life expectancy and population growth are presenting new challenges for healthcare systems and the health workforce. The growing burden of NCDs—including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease—requires a longer-term care approach and stronger emphasis on health education and preventive care.