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 »

Botswana Is Building a Strong Health System by Focusing on Health Workers

“I have a passion to help sick people,” says Oteng Gaopatwe, a nurse at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown, Botswana. “One thing I like most about my job is to see my clients satisfied, having a smile, and seeing all the people I have helped being relieved of their pain.”

Frontline health workers like Oteng are the backbone of health systems. In order to plan effectively for training, recruitment, and retention, countries need access to current, up-to-date information about their health workforce. Read more »

What’s So Rosy about Garden City?

Carol BalesThe walls. They’re the first thing you notice when you arrive at Garden City University College, a small school in Kumasi, Ghana. They’re painted a pale mauve. During the magic hour, when the sun’s low and red, the building and everyone in it glows.

The women who lead it. We’d come to document the school’s progress toward its goal of graduating more health workers, and we had hours of interviews lined up. Garden City’s leaders are stepping up to help address the country’s shortage of health workers. Ghana has fewer than half the minimum number of doctors, nurses, and midwives recommended by the World Health Organization to provide adequate access to health care.

So school leaders are using CapacityPlus tools to improve school management and identify cost-effective ways to educate more health workers. And we couldn’t help but notice that many of those leaders we met—from the new acting president to the dean of students—were powerful women who #MakeItHappen. Read more »

Where Are the Health Workers?

Professor Kayode Odusote (consultant for IntraHealth International, right) discusses health worker distribution with Mbemba Traore (director of the human resources unit at the Guinea Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, left). Read more »

The Room Was Full to Support and Protect Vulnerable Children in Nigeria

Nigeria SSW report slideshow

 Click to view slideshow.

In December, the government of Nigeria launched a key report aimed at protecting orphans and vulnerable children in its Federal Capital Territory. IntraHealth’s USAID-funded CapacityPlus project contributed to the report and participated in the event.

The Child Protection System Strengthening Mapping and Assessment Report for Federal Capital Territory looks at the state’s child protection risks and gaps, and examines continuum of care, accountability mechanisms, and resource mobilization of the state’s existing child protection system. It ultimately aims to strengthen delivery of quality child protection services in the state.

According to the report, there are 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria. It’s estimated that 39% of children ages 5-14 are engaged in child labor; approximately 40% of children do not attend primary school; and as many as 40% of children may have been trafficked. Read more »

Invest in Health Workers to End AIDS

The recent focus on Ebola in West Africa has reminded us of the need for strong and resilient health systems. Behind every quality health system is an army of available and accessible health workers. However, in facilities and communities across the globe, health worker vacancies and weak support systems hamper achievement of health goals and threaten overall preparedness for future infectious diseases.

In most countries with a high HIV burden, health workforce shortages are commonplace and create significant barriers to combating the epidemic.

Much has been accomplished. USAID is incredibly proud of its significant contributions to PEPFAR’s (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) achievements in strengthening the health workforce to deliver quality HIV services. On World AIDS Day, Secretary Kerry announced that PEPFAR has exceeded the target of 140,000 new health care workers, which was mandated by Congress in 2008. This is a great milestone not only for PEPFAR, but also for the broader global health workforce agenda. Read more »

2014’s Top Global Health Stories—and What They Have to Do with Health Workers

Margarite NatheAs 2014 comes to an end, the international development community stands on the cusp of major new progress, particularly in global health and development—but the war and disease that marked this year could hinder that progress for decades to come. Health workers labored on the front lines of some of 2014’s most prominent events, which will likely affect global health and the well-being for all 7 billion of us as we move into 2015 and beyond. So let's take a look back at some of 2014’s biggest global health and development stories. Some good, some bad, all illuminating as we enter the new year. Read more »

Supporting Lifelong Learning among Nigerian Community Health Workers through a Targeted Assessment of Training Needs

Rebecca Bailey and Joseph EtonLifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It is not confined to the classroom but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations. To develop and maintain the competencies needed to deliver high-quality services, health workers must be lifelong learners. Formal continuing education and training activities can support lifelong learning. Yet to be effective, they must target identified gaps between each worker’s current knowledge and skills and what is actually needed on the job. Training needs assessments provide information to target learning activities toward identified competency gaps and learning needs of specific health workers.

In Nigeria, CapacityPlus collaborated with the Community Health Practitioners Registration Board of Nigeria (CHPRBN) and the Federal Ministry of Health to assess the training needs of community health workers in the South-South region. The assessment focused on globally accepted knowledge, skills, and attitudes for community health practitioners in nine competency domains: Read more »

“I’m a Health Worker”: Dr. Arturo Carrillo

Dr. Arturo Carrillo wants to end discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV in his home country of El Salvador.

“Very often people disrespect the basic human rights of this population,” he says.

He’s an HIV expert for the National STI/HIV/AIDS Program for the Ministry of Health. As part of his job, he educates people on key issues, including sexual diversity.

“Each and every one of us has to understand that while people may be different, under the law we are all equal,” Dr. Carrillo says. “And that is extremely important.”

Like other countries in Central America, El Salvador’s HIV epidemic is concentrated in specific groups—HIV prevalence among sex workers is 5.7%, among men who have sex with men it’s 10.8%, and among transgender women it’s 25.8%. But widespread unfamiliarity with HIV, stigma, limited access to health care, poverty, and migration all make the country and the region vulnerable to a growing HIV epidemic. Read more »

iHRIS Champions in Ghana Share Success with Using Health Workforce Data

Gracey VaughnLike many of his fellow Ghanaians, Obeng Asomaning wanted to use his skills to help his country. As a new graduate with a degree in health service planning and management, he landed a job at the Ministry of Health’s Regional Health Office in Ashanti Region. Quickly he saw that the office was struggling to access information about the health workforce. How many midwives worked in the regional hospital? How many vacancies were there in Kwabre District? How many health workers will likely retire next year? The paper-based information system yielded no quick answers.

Answers to these kinds of questions are important because the country has a critical shortage of health workers. There are only 13.6 health workers for every 10,000 people, well below the minimum recommended threshold of 22.8 health workers per 10,000 population. To improve the population’s health outcomes, Ghana needs to make the most of the health workforce it currently has while working to increase their numbers. Read more »

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