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 »

“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 »

Task Sharing, Not Task Shifting: Team Approach Is Best Bet for HIV Care

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

By developing a more rational division of labor among HIV/AIDS health workers in developing countries, we can go a long way in “Overcoming the Last Barrier to Universal Access,” and nurses have a significant role to play in that effort.

That was the ambitious premise and title of a presentation by Dr. Kate Tulenko, senior director for health systems innovation for IntraHealth International (and CapacityPlus deputy director for clinical services and service delivery strengthening), at a satellite session I attended at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Read more »

Nursing and Midwifery Education in Ethiopia: Ensuring Professional Capacity and Relevance

Rachel DeussomIt has been estimated that sub-Saharan Africa needs 600,000 additional nurses just to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The United States Government’s Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) is designed to strengthen the quality and capacity of nursing and midwifery education systems in sub-Saharan African countries, to increase the number of well-qualified nurses and midwives, and to support innovative retention strategies. Nurses and midwives are integral to health systems, providing care to underserved areas and filling in where and when doctors are in short supply. CapacityPlus is proud to be a NEPI partner, providing analysis and technical support to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. Read more »

A Nurse in the House

Sue CollinsAs a documentary filmmaker exploring the issue of untreated pain and palliative care delivery globally, I discovered the extraordinary difference health workers make to patients facing end-of-life issues. The quality of care a patient receives at this critical time can have a profound impact on both patients and their families. When I learned that nurses in Uganda were able to prescribe oral morphine in the homes of patients, thereby relieving pain and returning quality of life to many who were too sick to travel, I had to find out more. 

“Many developing countries still have a real problem about the use, importation, and manufacture of morphine,” explained Eugene Murray, former CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation. “The second thing is having appropriate ways to distribute it. In Uganda, they dilute powdered morphine into water which is colored with a dye to indicate the three different strengths and is distributed by nurses in a community using recycled water bottles. That may seem very crude but in terms of pain control that is absolutely transformational.” Read more »

Live from Uganda: Field Testing a Rapid Assessment Tool to Improve Health Worker Retention

CapacityPlus Program Officer Laura Wurts is traveling in Uganda for three weeks and shared some of her experiences in the field thus far.

Mbarara UniversityPlease tell us about the purpose of this trip to Uganda, and where will you be working.
CapacityPlus is field testing a rapid assessment tool for determining priority retention interventions for costing to inform Ministry of Health policy-making to improve attraction and retention of health workers in rural and remote areas. While in Uganda, we expect to survey 500-600 people. The sample will include both final-year students and practicing health workers in four cadres: medical officers, nursing officers, pharmacists, and lab techs.

We will collect data in Kampala, Jinja, 10 districts around Mbarara town, and 10 districts around Gulu town. Specific universities include Makere University, Mbarara University for Science and Technology, Gulu University, and Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery. Read more »

Haiti Prioritizes Human Resources for Health

On Wednesday, I attended the Global Health Council Conference plenary session entitled "After the Earthquake: Towards Building a New Haitian Health System”, in which the Haitian Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr. Alex Larsen, discussed Haiti’s number one health priority—building the country’s human resources for health.

Dr. Larsen and partners of the Haitian Ministry of Health conveyed the futility of developing infrastructure and obtaining commodities without simultaneously bolstering the health care workforce. He mentioned three cadres of health workers that are currently in particularly high demand: community health workers, midwives, and nurse anesthesiologists. Read more »

Three Questions for David Benton

David BentonDavid Benton is CEO of the International Council of Nurses, a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations representing millions of nurses worldwide. Benton visited CapacityPlus lead partner IntraHealth International to speak at its 30th anniversary. (Responses are excerpted from a longer interview.)

What are some ways that international organizations and projects, such as CapacityPlus, can support the work of nurses’ associations at the national level? Read more »

Top Ten Myths about the Global Health Workforce Crisis Busted

Kate TulenkoMyth #1: It's mainly a numbers problem

Actually the main problem is maldistribution of health workers: rural/urban, primary care/specialty.

Myth #2: Health worker migration has no victims

Migration not only deprives the poorest countries of the health workers who migrate, but since the most qualified workers are the ones who migrate, it impairs countries’ ability to train replacements. A high percentage of the global health diaspora were professors in their home countries.

Myth #3: Developing-country health workers aren’t paid enough

Health workers are consistently in the top wage earners in their countries and have little or no student loan burden. Their standard of living, although not the same as Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development physicians, is extremely high compared to their fellow citizens. Read more »

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