Global Partnerships

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 »

CapacityPlus Joins the Private Sector Working Group

Subrata RouthAs part of CapacityPlus’s commitment to advancing private-sector solutions for human resources for health, in October we joined the newly relaunched Private Sector Working Group (PSWG). This is a broad-based forum comprised of USAID, its implementing partners, and a number of other multilaterals and foundations such as the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

PSWG’s new role
With the growing role of the private sector in health and enlargement of the membership base, the PSWG is indeed challenged with a number of critical issues concerning expectation management and prioritization of activities. In the October 26 meeting participants asked:

  • What private sector engagements should PSWG focus on in the future—the not-for-profit private sector, commercial private sector, or both?
  • Which topics and issues are most relevant for the PSWG to address, based on the programmatic priorities of the health sector in developing countries as well as the scope of the group?
  • What are the best activities for the PSWG to pursue to most successfully contribute to its above-mentioned goals?

PSWG members will have the opportunity to voice their ideas on these and other questions in an upcoming online survey. Read more »

To Bali and Back: Photo Blogging from the AAAH Conference

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Bali for CapacityPlus associate partner Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health’s (AAAH) fifth annual conference, “HRH Challenges for Achieving Millennium Development Goals.” Scroll through the photos and check out the descriptions below.

Photo 1
Traditional dancers at the opening ceremony.

Photo 2
The conference kicked off with side meetings on October 3rd—CapacityPlus coorganized both “Taking action on the WHO’s recommendations for rural retention” and “Implementing the HRH Action Framework (HAF) within the Country Coordination and Facilitation (CCF) process.”

Photo 3
In the side session “Taking action on the WHO’s recommendations for rural retention”, CapacityPlus's Wanda Jaskiewicz showcased the project’s cutting-edge work in developing a discrete choice experiment-based toolkit for rapid retention assessments. Read more »

Three Myths about Health Worker Retention

Maurice MiddlebergHow can we encourage health workers to take up and remain in rural postings? This is a key challenge for increasing access to health care. But as we address health worker retention in hard-to-reach areas, there are numerous myths afloat. Here are just a few.

Myth 1. Health workers leave rural posts because they want more money
To be sure, salaries are important. But it’s more complicated than that.

As my colleague Kate Tulenko has pointed out, health workers are consistently among the top wage earners in developing countries. And in terms of international migration, an OECD policy brief notes that while “wage differentials across countries play an important role,” that’s not the only reason health workers leave. Other factors are also at play.

In a South African study cited in Fatu Yumkella’s brief on retention, for example, doctors noted that improving their salary was one of the most important factors for rural retention—yet they also stated that salary alone would not retain them. Money is only one part of the picture.

Myth 2. International migration is the greatest threat
We often think that developing-country health workers’ migration to the US, UK, and elsewhere is the most pressing challenge we face in addressing the workforce shortage. But it’s less of a concern for rural health care than we might expect. Read more »

Developer to Developer: Creating a Regional Support Network at the Unconference

Read about the first days of the Unconference.

Carl Leitner at the unconference, GhanaClosing the iHRIS track on Tuesday, CapacityPlus staff Dykki Settle asked how many of the participants were excited to come back tomorrow. In reply, the 25 participants—from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, and more—including human resources (HR) managers, information technology staff, and HR directors—universally and sincerely expressed their enthusiasm for the Training Workshop/Unconference for Interoperable Applications for Health Information Systems. As this is a western African regional conference, both French and English speakers were present. Many thanks to Romain Tohouri who provided excellent translation to and from French on technical areas such as HR and software development, as well as health sector terminology. Read more »

Linking the Millennium Development Goals with Human Resources for Health

Wilma GormleyAfter being escorted past more security guards than I’ve encountered in my entire life, I arrived in a conference room in the United Nations building overlooking the East River in New York City eager to hear luminaries discuss the critical link between human resources for health (HRH) and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

I took the train from Washington, DC to NYC early this morning and watched the birth of a sunny, early fall day. I “immigrated” to NYC from Kansas after graduate school, and I still love its positive energy.

Progress in human resources for health
No Health Workforce. No Health MDGs. Is that acceptable? was a side event held at the MDG Summit this week, sponsored by the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) along with the governments of Norway, Brazil, and Cameroon, and the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative. President of Malawi Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika delivered the keynote address, and Dr. Mubashar Sheikh from GHWA delivered the opening and closing remarks. The panelists included ministers of health from Cameroon, Malawi, Norway, and Brazil; a DFID representative; and a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) vice president. Read more »

The Digital Nomad: Blogging from the Health Information Systems Unconference

Carl Leitner's badgePacked and ready to collaborate
In my suitcase there are two iHRIS Appliances, a host of books donated by O'Reilly, and several large printouts of the form maps for iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify. I’m a digital nomad, I say to myself, looking at my backpack full of electronic knick-knacks that will help smooth over any technical hiccups we may encounter during the Training Workshop/Unconference for Interoperable Applications for Health Information Systems. Held in Accra, Ghana, most participants are from the Economic Community of West African States, with several iHRIS developers from Botswana and Lesotho as well. Read more »

Global Leaders Speak Out for Health Workforce Partnerships

Uganda health studentsHealth education in the global context
At the Accordia Foundation’s Health Workforce Partnership Symposium, held September 14 in Washington, DC, US Ambassador Dr. Eric Goosby noted three key points about health education.

1) The US Government (PEPFAR) is committed to building health capacity in developing countries; 2) Over the long term, country ownership and sustainable national capacity is critical to this effort; and 3) PEPFAR will be working with the Global Fund to merge planning processes, initially in 10 countries, and by implication this includes health workforce education. Read more »

From Rural Virginia to Remote Areas of Laos: Keeping Health Workers in the Communities That Need Them

Maurice MiddlebergOn a recent Monday I spotted an article in the Washington Post about a young doctor who accepted a position in rural Virginia. She and many other health workers are struggling to balance their professional commitment—“I really wanted to help people who wouldn’t otherwise get help,” Dr. Sarah Carricaburu told the reporter—with the drawbacks of living far from an urban center. She’s not sure if she’ll stay.

I was struck by the similar context of this article and the stories I hear every week from developing countries around the world. The factors driving doctors and nurses away from rural posts in the US are largely the same as those in developing countries—social and professional isolation, access to the Internet, housing, cultural options, schooling for children, lack of opportunity for continuing education.

We often assume the problem is one of salary. But it’s more complicated than that. Read more »

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