Years of Investments Finally Put Health Workers on the Global Stage

David OlsonThis post was originally published on the Huffington Post’s Social Entrepreneurship Blog.

For almost 10 years, I managed health programs in Africa, Asia, and South America that harnessed social marketing techniques to produce tangible benefits for poor consumers. Our programs made low-cost products such as condoms, contraceptives, and oral rehydration salts available at reduced, affordable prices. We worked mostly through the private sector and were proud of our bottom-line health impact. We didn’t think much about underlying health systems or how to improve them. And if we had, we probably would have dismissed health system strengthening as overly ambitious. Read more »

Creating Partnerships in Support of Health Workers in Uganda

Charles MatsikoIn Uganda, CapacityPlus works in collaboration with the Uganda Capacity Program and key country-level colleagues to strengthen the health workforce. This is an excerpt from an original post on the IntraHealth International blog.

I could begin every blog talking about the many countries, like Uganda, that find it challenging to build and maintain the kind of health workforce needed to deliver high-quality health services, particularly when faced with inadequate funding for human resources for health. These challenges can lead to health worker dissatisfaction, attrition, and absenteeism and are exacerbated by not enough of the right skill sets among health workers or by poor geographic distribution of those skills. But what I want to focus on today is what countries are actually doing to respond to these challenges, employ more staff, improve the workplace, and create strong leadership and management in the health sector. Read more »

Health Workers’ Role in Health Service Integration

Mesrak BelatchewIn the past decade, the global health field has seen a number of interventions that tried to integrate health services for various purposes. Integrating family planning and HIV services have helped countries make use of the resources available for the latter to expand the scope and coverage of services. TB and HIV service integration is another example of synergy to strengthen both programs. The advantage of integration for consumers is clear: patients get comprehensive services, whether in the community or at health facilities.

Focusing on health workers
Through the years, we have learned that it’s vital to strengthen the existing health system as a whole. In integrating health services, these initiatives bring a welcome focus on the key role of health workers who provide services across the system. Read more »

Not Training: Educating Health Workers in the 21st Century

Shaun Noronha“We don’t train health workers. We train dogs. We educate health workers,” said David Gordon, visiting professor at the World Federation for Medical Education, to participants at the World Health Organization (WHO)/ PEPFAR consultation meeting on the transformative scale-up of medical, nursing, and midwifery education.

Held in Geneva in December, this high-level consultation brought together global, country, and institutional leaders from both the health worker education and health sectors in order to develop an opinion base and engage stakeholders for cooperative success.

Transformative scale-up
While the guidelines on transformative scale-up are still being written, this new concept recognizes two paradigms. Read more »

Lessons in Optimism: How a Two-Week Course Changed My Thinking on Health Systems Strengthening

Corinne FarrellExcited to attend a two-week course on Strengthening Human Resources for Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, I checked into my hotel in Boston on a Sunday evening. At the front desk, I received my room key and the largest binder I’ve ever seen. I settled into my room and opened the binder expecting to find some overview materials and Boston tourism brochures. Instead it was full of course outlines and required articles.

Information overload

My technical expertise is in library and information science within the context of global health, so it’s hard to intimidate me with information overload. But as I began the required readings for the first day of class, pessimism dominated my thoughts due to the reinforcement of something I already knew—addressing human resources for health (HRH) challenges can seem overwhelming.

With so many topics to cover in just two weeks, could this course really make a difference? My mind raced as I read about many different frameworks for examining health system components. Who could possibly have expertise in all these areas (i.e., finance, labor markets, policy, management, leadership) as well as public health? Read more »

From Human Resources for Health to Visiting Uganda’s Natural Resources

Erik Reavely and George Mgomella

As part of the CapacityPlus work with stakeholder leadership groups, I traveled to Kenya and Uganda for two weeks in April.

Together, George Mgomella, from associate partner the African Population and Health Research Center, and I interviewed 22 members of the Health Workforce Observatory in Kenya and the Health Workforce Advisory Board in Uganda about their experience in these stakeholder leadership groups. Read more »

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