Health Workers

Nursing Education Partnership Initiative Tackles the Global Nursing Shortage

Kate TulenkoAround the world nurses are often the front line of the formal medical system, providing care to underserved areas and filling in where and when doctors are in short supply. Yet it has been estimated that sub-Saharan Africa needs 600,000 additional nurses just to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI)—the US Government’s unified program to address the underproduction of nursing professionals in developing countries—convened its partners for the first time in a meeting in June in Washington, DC. NEPI’s goal is to assist in the nursing component of the US Government’s commitment to training 140,000 additional health workers in developing countries by 2015.

NEPI is led by PEPFAR with government partners USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services. Other partners include CapacityPlus led by IntraHealth International, Columbia University, the World Health Organization, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Read more »

Tracking Graduates from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College: Progress, Benefits, and Challenges

An exultant white building surrounded by lush gardens, the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) gazes at Mount Kilimanjaro, known as “Mama Kili,” with each sunrise. Located in Moshi, Tanzania, the school has been training physicians for over a decade. The first 15 medical doctors graduated in 2002.

While it is still a young institution, KCMUCo has been working hard to address the unmet health care needs of sub-Saharan Africa by increasing the number of health workers and retaining them in Tanzania. Through the support of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the school is focusing on scaling up training, with the number of annual graduates rising to 150 to date. KCMUCo has also updated its programs of study to ensure that medical students are acquiring relevant competencies to provide care for rural and underserved populations. Read more »

mPossible! Health Workers Can Get Training Anytime, Anywhere with Interactive Voice Response

This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog.

Advances in mobile health—or mHealth—have expanded the realm of possibility for remote education, diagnostic and treatment support, communication and training, disease tracking, monitoring, and data collection. Every day, mHealth grows to include more sophisticated applications for high-tech smartphones and tablets. But what about health workers—specifically those in rural areas who don’t have access to the latest technology?

To learn more about mLearning (or mobile learning) for health workers, IntraHealth International, through the CapacityPlus project, piloted an innovative program to provide refresher training to family planning service providers in Senegal using interactive voice response (IVR) technologies on basic mobile phones. Read more »

Better, Stronger, and Thankful: HIV Peer Counselor in the Dominican Republic Shares Impact of His Work

Alfredo Felix is a peer counselor with the Department of HIV at Jaime Mota Regional Hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic. “I’ve always felt motivated to work in the community to inform people,” he says. The area shares a border with Haiti and has a large immigrant population at risk for HIV.

Peer counselors like Alfredo play an important role in countering the effects of stigma, which can make it hard for people to seek information about HIV and follow through with treatment. Alfredo tells a story about someone he helped: Read more »

Health Professional School Leaders Are Critical in National Health Planning and Policies for Emerging Epidemics

Health professional school leaders must be seen as a vital health sector resource, and used accordingly.

Richard SeifmanThere have been over 4,000 known Ebola cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Senegal, resulting in 2,000 deaths. Of this number over 300 health workers have become sick and roughly half have died. There has been a significant immediate funding response from the international community including an initial $21 million investment in protective gear, chlorine bleach, and food aid, and deployment of CDC and USAID personnel, with additional USAID funding totaling $100 million. Further, there are commitments from the World Bank ($230 million) and the African Development Bank ($60 million).

These financial commitments are critical, but as Stephen Morrison of the Global Health Policy Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote recently, “On the ground, several thousand additional workers capable of implementing emergency disaster programs are needed, and will require protection and expedited training and deployment. These critical elements are needed urgently today, but where will they come from?” Read more »

For Health Workers on Ebola’s Front Lines, Stress Management is Crucial

John LiebhardtThis post originally appeared on VITAL, the blog of IntraHealth International.

Since March 23, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has tracked the spread of the Ebola virus through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.

The United Nations has spent countless hours developing and disseminating information on the risks of transmitting the disease, reassuring the public on how to protect themselves, and publishing a bevy of technical information for health workers.

Publishers such as Elsevier have enabled free access to Ebola-related research to help health workers and researchers control the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has disseminated information on how health workers can keep themselves safe while caring for Ebola victims.

What no one is talking about, though, is how to help health workers deal with the stress of an Ebola outbreak, especially in areas that suffer from health worker shortages. Read more »

The Oft-Overlooked Job Description

Kate SheahanThis post originally appeared on VITAL, the blog of IntraHealth International.

Job descriptions for health workers—it seems like a simple concept. And in fact, job descriptions can increase a community’s access to high-quality health care in low-resource settings.

But many health workers in low-income countries don’t have this basic tool.

For example, only 57% of health workers in Namibia and 38% of health workers in Kenya have job descriptions, according to data from Service Provision Assessments conducted by the countries’ ministries of health.

Research conducted in Kenya shows that health workers who have written job descriptions provide higher-quality care than those who do not. This may be because job descriptions provide structure, guidance, accountability lines, minimum skills and qualifications standards, and performance benchmarks. Read more »

Programmers Embrace International Standards for Zimbabwe’s Health Worker Registry

Carol BalesThis post originally appeared on IntraHealth International’s Tumblr.

These programmers see the light and embrace international standards for the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care’s new national health worker registry.

The registry is a database that will pull together a basic set of data on health workers from various information systems in the country.

Once the data are available, health leaders can use them to make all kinds of decisions that can improve the health of Zimbabweans—from influencing health workforce policy to improving the delivery of clinical services. Read more »

“I Made Some Changes”: A Nurse/Midwife’s Experience with Leadership and Management Training

Sarah DwyerThis post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series cohosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.

“Things were really a bit appalling.”

That’s what conditions at her rural health center felt like to Habiba Shaban Agong, a senior nursing officer and midwife in Uganda.

She says she loves her profession. “In midwifery I do a lot,” she adds proudly. “I help mothers in carrying out their pregnancies. During deliveries I help them to conduct live babies—to make a better future.” But it pained her that her facility wasn’t able to deliver the high quality of services the community deserved.

For starters, there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the demand. Each department had only “about one human resource working day and night,” Habiba says. “They get exhausted, and that can hinder service delivery.” Read more »

Out of Midwifery School and Hard at Work

This post originally appeared on IntraHealth International’s Tumblr.

Now that smile is contagious!

Rosaline Osanebi delivered these beautiful twins during her clinical rotation at the Zuma Memorial School of Midwifery in Edo State, Nigeria.

She’s one of 2,065 students who earned scholarships from CapacityPlus. Read more »

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