On May 18, 2021, the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), participated at the Human Resources for Health 2030 end-of-program event.
HRH 2030 has been USAID’s flagship health workforce program for the last six years
The virtual event under the theme: "Six Years in 60 Minutes: Learning from the HRH2030 Program” was therefore one of the legacy series to share achievements as well as explore the broader picture on global health, including the COVID-19 era and the launch of the new USAID Vision for Health Systems Strengthening.
The panel of experts included ACHEST Executive Director Prof. Francis Omaswa and Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, the Director of Medical Education and Development
ACHEST Medical Induction Course
Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde spoke about ACHEST’s induction course which supports newly qualified health professionals to adjust to the working world.
“Medical internship is a transition phase between being medical students and becoming fully qualified medical professionals. It has been reported that this period can be stressful and sometimes it makes the young professionals feel inadequate and uncomfortable. So, we felt that it was important to prepare them for this period,” said Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde
It should be noted that in 2020, the course received recognition in the HRH 2030 in the health workforce resilience global competition.
“ACHEST brings in health professionals both young and old to talk to the interns to give them a feel of what to expect when they become interns and also tell them how to work together in a team, how to meet the expectations of their supervisors, what the ministry expects them to do and what and whom they will be expected to work with and also how to manage stress so that they are prepared to work during this phase,” remarked Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde.
Previously, the course was held face-to-face. However, it has since been hosted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had to be innovative. The health professionals caught on quite quickly. We would have interaction through the chat. It was cheaper to run and we got more health professionals on board. It was challenging but the newly qualified professionals desired it and they caught on quite quickly. Even before they finish medical school they keep asking ‘when shall we have this induction?’ It has become quite popular and we hope that when we go back to normal, we will have the face-to face sessions again, because they are better,” said Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde.
Good Leadership for Health On his part, Prof. Omaswa applauded the HRH2030 for the work done over the years. He strongly advocated for community health systems and the need to institutionalize community health workers.
“Everyone says it is a good thing. But we are not seeing as much of it as we want to see.
Building community health workers is about imbedding the community health system into the national health system so that it is an integral part of the health system. Indeed as Dr. Tedros says, including the health policy of the Africa Union, it is community health systems of integrated people -centered primary health which is the foundation of Universal Health Coverage,” said Prof. Omaswa, stressing that it was time to walk the talk.
“What I see is a need for community health workers, we all agree, but what I don’t see is that collective effort to institutionalize community health workers into health systems. what I also don’t see are structures within governments to make this happen and the global community to drive all of us and coordinate all of us,” observed Prof. Omaswa.
He called for the strong leadership of the health workforce as spelt out in the Kampala Declaration and Agenda for Global Action- the first-ever Global Forum on Human Resources for Health held on 2-7 March 2008.
“That is what we set out to do. To build leadership for health workforce. If you look at the ministries of health, many of them do not have the skills to provide health workers with the skills and attitudes that they need. In many countries, the personnel officers who move from ministries of education, ministries of agriculture are the ones who are managing the health workforce! But they are not technical leaders who understand the link between the disease burden and the skills and knowledge and attitude that is needed. One of the transformations I would like to see is that we work to ensure that every country has individuals with the requisite skills to manage the health workforce as a technical issue,” explained Prof. Omaswa.
He added: “After that, there is need to ensure to ensure that every country has what WHO rolled out as the Country Coordination and Facilitation (CCF), where you have multiple sectors creating a structure in the country to plan for and manage the health workers. The plan starts with education. What is the disease burden, what skills are needed at what level, how the health workers support each other.”
Prof. Omaswa talked with nostalgia about the Global Health Workforce Alliance(GHWA) which has since been replaced by Global Health Network.
“There is need for us to speak truth to power which WHO for various reasons is not always able to do. We supported the alliance. Let’s have a way in which that network can have some leadership, some bite, which works with WHO, but has the capability to be independent of WHO,” he noted.
Find full recording here: https://hrh2030program.org/webinar-six-years-sixty-minutes/
Compiled by Carol Natukunda