Global Health eLearning Center’s Community Feature Extends the Impact of Online Learning

In response to feedback from its users, the USAID Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL) and USAID’s partner at the Knowledge for Health project launched a new community feature on the site in February 2014, which gives students the ability to interact online with the course author and with other students in the same course. From August 4–13, 2014, GHeL launched its first facilitated, cohort-based learning study group to enhance students’ understanding of the main concepts in the Gender and Health Systems Strengthening course. The course author, Constance Newman, Senior Team Leader, Gender Equality and Health at IntraHealth International and working on the CapacityPlus project, asked participants to review two sessions of the course and then visit the online learning space to reflect on the discussion questions, ask questions, share experiences related to gender and health system strengthening, and learn from each other about how they have applied or plan to apply what they have learned from the course in their jobs. Read more »

Scaling Up and Transforming Health Workforce Education and Training for Improved Health Equity

This post was originally published on the Global Health Workforce Alliance Members’ Platform. We encourage you to join and contribute to discussions like this one.

The statistics are startling: today the world is in urgent need of 7.2 million additional doctors, nurses, and midwives, according to the WHO, and by 2035 that number will rise to 12.9 million. Recent estimates show that just under one million doctors, nurses, and midwives graduate each year. At this rate, it would take more than seven years to produce the additional skilled workers currently needed. Yet in seven years, the need for health workers will be much higher. Read more »

Let’s Bring Gender-Based Violence Out of the Shadows in Mali

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

In Bamako, MaIngrid Marzuolali, last month, I sat in on a workshop about training health workers to comprehensively care for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. From the heated debates going on around the room—including when and if a husband has the right to beat his wife and whether or not the wife considers it acceptable—it was clearly a topic not often discussed openly.

In fact, this kind of training curriculum is unprecedented in Mali. Read more »

Addressing Gender Inequality in Uganda’s Health Workforce

Constance Newman, senior team lead for gender equality and health at IntraHealth International and for CapacityPlus, presents the following case from Uganda. It demonstrates how IntraHealth’s Uganda Capacity Program is assisting the Uganda Ministry of Health to apply gender research results to improve leadership, governance, and management of the health workforce.

Human resources management policies and practices that promote nonviolence, nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and gender equality at work result in positive professional work environments and more efficient recruitment, deployment, and retention of human resources for health. However, the gender dimensions of Uganda’s health workforce were largely unexplored. Because of this, the Uganda Capacity Program provided technical support to a Ministry of Health Gender Discrimination and Inequality Analysis (GDIA) to inform gender mainstreaming in the public health sector of Uganda, and in particular, to promote gender equality in workforce policy, planning, development, and human resources management. This supported Uganda’s Gender Policy mandate of “promoting and carrying out gender-oriented research in order to identify gender inequalities1.”  Read more »

Venciendo las barreras de género: Yo soy una trabajadora de la salud de la cadena de suministros

El Ministerio de Salud de El Salvador tiene a nivel nacional 111 almacenes y solo 2, son dirigidos por mujeres. Yesenia Aguirre de Barahona es una de esas dos mujeres, se desempeña como guardalmacén de la Región Paracentral. El almacén abastece 73 centros de salud para una población beneficiaria de 882,243 personas.

Graduada como Licenciada en Mercadotecnia, tiene 23 años trabajando en la cadena de suministros en el sistema de salud salvadoreño, y siete como guardalmacén de medicamentos. A pesar de que tiene una gran experiencia, se enfrenta a algunos desafíos debido a ser mujer en un papel por lo general ocupado por los hombres. Read more »

Overcoming Gender Barriers: A Day in the Life of a Health Worker in the Supply Chain

El Salvador’s Ministry of Health has 111 warehouses nationwide, and only two are directed by women. Yesenia Aguirre de Barahona is one of those two women, working as a warehouse guard in the Paracentral Region. Her warehouse supplies medicines to 73 health centers that serve a total of 882,243 people.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, she gained 23 years of experience working in the supply chain of the country’s health system, and spent seven years as a guard of medication warehouses. Even though she is highly experienced, she faces some challenges due to being a woman in a role typically held by men. Read more »

Serious Optimism: A Conversation with Constance Newman about Connecting Girls to School, and Women to the Paid Health Workforce

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Corinne Farrell recently sat down with Constance Newman, IntraHealth’s senior team leader for gender equality and health and a committed advocate for social justice, to discuss this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “connecting girls and inspiring futures.”

Corinne FarrellAsked how the International Women’s Day theme, Connecting girls, inspiring futures, relates to IntraHealth’s mission of empowering and supporting health workers, Constance Newman did not hesitate: “It’s about connecting girls to school and protecting women’s ties to the paid health workforce.”

Fifty-seven countries are experiencing crisis-level shortages of health workers. In many of these countries, health workers are predominantly female, particularly nurses, midwives, and community health workers. Many health workforce leaders question whether gender issues, such as discrimination, are really among the most pressing issues contributing to health workforce shortages. Based on her 25 years of experience, observation, reading, and research in global health and the health workforce, Newman feels the urgency to document the evidence that will put these questions to rest and stimulate action. “If you don’t have women entering the paid health workforce, and if they aren’t safe, secure, and satisfied in their jobs, you are not going to have the workforce that you need—one that’s diverse and robust enough to meet the health challenges in these countries.” Read more »

Family Planning and Access to Health Workers

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Maurice Middleberg

Amid the worldwide health worker shortage, some low-income countries are managing to show impressive levels of modern contraceptive use. How does access to skilled health workers affect family planning use, and what are some countries doing differently?

Fifty-seven countries have a critical shortage of health workers, and progress on the ground remains much slower than any of us would like to see—evidence from the Global Health Workforce Alliance suggests that only about half the national workforce plans are actually being implemented. Not one of these 57 health workforce “crisis” countries identified by the World Health Organization in 2006 has achieved the recommended minimum threshold of 2.3 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people. Read more »

From Cairo to Dakar: Population Dynamics in Mali

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Twenty yeSara Pacqué-Margolisars ago I arrived in Bamako, Mali, and discovered a capital city settling into relative calm following a military-led coup. My first images of Bamako were of cows, cars, and citizens grazing, grinding gears, and gridlocked on Bamako’s main artery through town—the Route de Koulikoro. 

One did not have to travel far on this road to experience the full spectrum of Malian culture and economy. Brand-new, shiny Land Rovers shared the road with bush taxis, mopeds, bikes, an occasional chicken, and many, many pairs of shuffling feet. Read more »

Discrimination in Law: Putting Female Health Workers at Risk

Max SeunikThe temperature is stifling, red-tinged dust seems to coat every surface, and the whir of many fans fills the air with a rhythmic pulsing. I am seated on a bench in a small community center in Kati, Mali, observing a training meeting for all of the relais (health care volunteers) from the surrounding villages, sponsored by CapacityPlus.

The room is packed with women wearing bright and colourful boubous. Some are cradling babies, others are scribbling down notes—but they are all intensely attentive.

Relais are the backbone of Mali’s health care system. They are most important in remote underserved villages that lack health infrastructure, where they provide advice on prenatal and postnatal care. The training session focused on a picture book developed by the Malian government and a host of NGO partners.

The innovative guide has everything from images of a woman dragging her daughter to be excised under the word “NON” in a bold red to an illustration of a couple and their baby sleeping under a mosquito net. Read more »

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