PAHO/WHO, Washington, D.C., USA, 20-22 March 2012
The meeting will take place from 20 to 22 March at PAHO. This is a joint meeting organized by the Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and CapacityPlus (USAID-funded global project), in collaboration with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Dr Jon Kim Andrus, PAHO Deputy Director, will open the meeting, with Dr. Wim Van Lerberghe, Director of Health System Policies and Workforce at WHO Geneva; Dr Estelle Quain, Team Leader - Health Systems Strengthening, Office of HIV/AIDS, USAID; and Dr Kate Tulenko, Deputy Director, CapacityPlus, Director,and IntraHealth International.
The 60 participants are experts in health education and related areas from around the world. They will discuss education and training needs for different professions, including medical, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy and public health, among others. Specifically, participants will review the findings from literature reviews and other evidence, discuss and decide on how to move forward on drafting a set of recommendations, and discuss strategies for translating the guidelines into action, including forming a working group with different partners.
The world is currently facing a severe global health workforce crisis, with critical shortages, imbalanced skill mix and uneven geographical distribution of health professionals, leaving millions of people without access to health services.
More professional health workers are needed — but not simply more of the same. Efforts to scale up health professional education must increase the quantity, quality and relevance of the providers of the future if they are to meet population health needs.
Reforms in education must be informed by community health needs. Stronger collaboration between the education and health sectors, other national authorities, and the private sector will improve the match between health professional education and the realities of health service delivery. Educational institutions need to increase capacity and reform recruitment, teaching methods and curricula in order to improve the quality and the social accountability of graduates. The international community has an important role to play by partnering to support country-led efforts.
At the request of its member states and partners, WHO and partners are developing policy recommendations to assist countries, development partners and other stakeholders in efforts to expand the health workforce and to improve alignment between education of health professionals and population health needs.
Issues to be discussed include:
- How to increase the number of health workers with the right skills?
- What are the strategies for attracting a broad range of health workers and for enrolment into appropriate training programs?
- How to articulate the technological changes and the challenges on faculty and curriculum development to deliver the required quality of education and training?
- How to ensure continuing relevance and quality of all cadres through ensuring appropriate scope of practice, supervision and in service training.
The final version of the policy recommendations will provide a set of evidence-based effective interventions in the health and education sectors that governments can use to increase the quantity and improve the quality (in terms of skills and knowledge) and relevance of health professionals education and training (doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists and others), in order to meet population health needs and expectations, and strengthen health systems so that education becomes relevance to local health needs.
These guidelines will:
- facilitate adaptation to changing educational environments
- be a reference point to educators and policy makers
- rallying point for advocacy with relevant stake holders building alliances
- common understanding of key elements for quality, relevance and appropriate education.