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 »

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 »

Youth Can Take the Lead in Health Governance and Accountability

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

Dr. Kate TulenkoDozens of young people participated in the 67th World Health Assembly last month in Geneva, including young people from HIV-positive communities, sexual minority communities, and health professional students and recent graduates.

Throughout the meeting, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partner leaders championed the cause of involving young people in local, national, and global health agendas. Panels on universal health coverage, HIV/AIDS, and health systems included youth speakers. The young people added energy, vibrancy, and new ideas to the meetings.

Yet beneath the enthusiasm lay some discontent. Read more »

“I Can Improve Things”: An HIV Peer Counselor in the Dominican Republic

“It was very, very bad treatment that I received,” recalls Mercedes (not her real name), a young mother living with HIV.

Five years ago—at one of the largest maternity hospitals in the Dominican Republic—she was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Although she enrolled in the hospital’s program to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), she felt discriminated against for her status, and that the health workers’ actions toward her lacked compassion.

But she decided her experience as a victim of stigma would not stand in her way of helping other HIV-positive pregnant women. Read more »

A Day in the Life of a Rural Midwife

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

I wonder if the midwives I have met and worked with in rural East and Southern Africa know that today is the International Day of the Midwife. 

In their honor, I wish to share the typical working day of one midwife I’ve observed. I’ll call her Jane. How does her day compare to yours? Read more »

Thank a Health Worker—Unsung Heroes of Global Health

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

When was the last time you thanked your health care provider? We often forget how much care, guidance, and support they give, and the sacrifices they make to restore us to good health. Health workers—whether a doctor, nurse, midwife, or physician’s assistant—are an integral part of a well-functioning health system and necessary for the delivery of quality health care not only in the United States, but all around the world. As the world comes together to celebrate World Health Worker Week, we are reminded of the critical role health workers play both in the developed world as well as some of the poorest countries plagued with an unimaginable shortage of health services and limited access to care. Read more »

Empowered Health Workers Improve Health Care, One Facility at a Time

This post originally appeared on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition blog.

“What inspires me is when I see patieAgnes Masagawayi with clientnts critically ill and then recovering, laughing, smiling—I feel great,” says Agnes Masagwayi, a senior clinical health officer in Mbale District, Uganda. “I love my job with all my heart.”

But her health facility, she admits, was in “a bad state.” Running water was sporadic. Essential drugs ran out. Space for maternity care was so limited that many women delivered babies on the floor. Infection control was poor. And there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the demand. Read more »

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