Ensuring quality and sustainability of the health workforce is an essential element of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This is the strong message that came out of the 2019 Global Symposium on Health Workforce Accreditation and Regulation, held from December 10-12 2019, in Istanbul, Turkey.
Co-organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), and the Global Health Workforce Network (GHWN), the symposium reviewed health workforce-related accreditation and regulation, enhanced data sharing across Member States, relevant stakeholders and institutional readiness in this area.
It also looked at consistency of the different approaches by member states regarding the adoption of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 and its 2020 milestone.
It addressed policies and implementation strategies for the accreditation of health worker education institutions and health worker regulation to advance quality and sustainability. Furthermore, it reviewed and addressed health worker accreditation and regulatory issues with a focus towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, as emphasized in the WHO’s 13th Global Programme of Work and the 2018 G20 Health Ministers Statement.
The symposium attracted at least 250 participants from 158 countries; including representatives from national governments, intergovernmental organizations, health professional associations, health professional accreditation and regulatory bodies, and civil society among others.
Participants sought ways to promote mechanisms to expand the global health workforce and optimize its performance, quality, and distribution through strengthened accreditation and regulatory policies and inter-sectoral cooperation. This is in line with the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health.
There were four plenary sessions and each was followed by breakout sessions for more detailed discussions on what exists on the ground; the present and future challenges; exploring what works and what needs to be done.
The African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) was represented by Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde.
During one of the breakout sessions, she highlighted the contribution that ACHEST has made towards the building of capacity for Health Professional Councils in Uganda.
She outlined the process ACHEST facilitated to change the database of the councils in Uganda from a paper-based one to an online platform. This was well received and one particular participant from Ethiopia took keen interest in the work that ACHEST has done.
The conference not only provided information and a learning point for the participants, but also networking opportunities.