New Publication Spotlight: Keeping Up to Date: Continuing Professional Development for Health Workers in Developing Countries

In order for health workers to meet their communities’ changing health care needs, they must become lifelong learners dedicated to updating their professional knowledge and skills. This is where continuing professional development (CPD) comes in, and it’s an essential component of successful health systems.

Health professional training in MaliA new CapacityPlus technical brief summarizes current best practices and innovative ideas in CPD. Keeping Up to Date: Continuing Professional Development for Health Workers in Developing Countries is a resource for people who run or advise CPD programs.

CPD is a process of education, in-service training, learning, and support activities undertaken to ensure continuing competence, extend knowledge and skills to new responsibilities, and increase effectiveness. It can lead to improved health outcomes for the community.

Yet to be effective, CPD programs must be carefully planned, financed, delivered, and evaluated. Authors Kamlesh Giri, Nina Frankel, Kate Tulenko, Amanda Puckett, Rebecca Bailey, and Heather Ross recommend informing new CPD interventions by examining lessons learned and best practices identified by previous interventions. Among the authors’ findings are the following:

  • Good CPD planning begins with a health education needs assessment.
  • Stakeholders should be involved in formulating the mission, purpose, and regulatory framework of CPD.
  • Given frontline health providers’ pivotal role, they should be involved at each step of the CPD process.
  • Supervisors and managers should encourage health workers to take advantage of CPD opportunities.
  • Materials that are of high technical quality but not absorbed or translated into health worker actions are of limited value.

To learn more, read the technical brief, available as an interactive version and a PDF. And please let us know what you think; we welcome your feedback.

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Photo by Trevor Snapp. (Health professional training in Mali)