The African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) has received an Honourable Mention in the first-ever Health Workforce Resilience Awards. The awards were launched in February 2020 by the Human Resources for Health in 2030 (HRH2030) Program, with an aim of identifying successful solutions that strengthen the resilience of the human resources for the health workforce in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 500 individuals and organizations applied for the prize, but only 99 eligible applications from 31 countries were reviewed by a panel of judges. During the virtual award ceremony on June 24, 2020, two winners from Nepal and Brazil were awarded $25,000 each for designing and developing tools and approaches to improve or enhance health worker resilience. ACHEST was recognised with an honorable mention, and took home $5,000.
ACHEST was especially credited for initiating a medical interns induction program, which offers life skills and career expectations to newly qualified doctors, pharmacists, nurses and midwives.
Wanda Jaskiewicz, the HRH2030 Project Director, while presenting the Honorable Mention recognition said: “ACHEST developed training strategy to help newly qualified health professionals in Uganda, to undertake the challenging transition from being students to entering the profession as agile responsible and resilient health workers.”
She added: The industrial training they (ACHEST) provide helps health workers to navigate the challenging work environment, build strong relations, foster self-confidence; identify and manage stress and burnout, thereby introducing them to the job market and career progression.”
The curriculum of the induction course was developed with educators and health workers. It uses didactic teaching, case-based learning, and a participatory approach to provide newly qualified health professionals with the tactics they need to transition from the education system to the health system. The course is delivered by young professionals, senior professionals, employers and regulators; evaluation and follow-up mentorship is undertaken by select professional associations. Among other benefits, the induction empowers interns to build good relationships with supervisors; links them to professional associations that provide mentorship and continuous professional development; and enables them to pursue post-internship employment.
Commenting on ACHEST’s recognition, Dr. Elsie Kiguli Malwadde, the ACHEST Director of Health Workforce Education and Development has this to say: “This recognition is exciting for ACHEST as it demonstrates that the work we are doing is worthwhile. It also motivates us to do more work in the area of human resources for Health and probably makes the interns appreciate the program even more.
In her remarks, Kelly Saldana, the Director of Healthy Systems at USAID Bureau of Global Health highlighted the need for continued support to health workforce resilience, observing that it was essential to respond to the shocks during disasters like the COVID19 pandemic.
Her colleague at the USAID Bureau, Dr. Alma Golden noted that health providers have been the backbone of the health systems during the pandemic.
Brief about the winners
Two organisations - TNH Brazil and Nyaya Health Nepal emerged as overall winners.
TNH Brazil developed an app to deal with mental health challenges in the country’s health workforce. By providing assistance through a mobile phone, the app delivers psycho-education, mood monitoring, and brief evidence-based interventions in an engaging conversational format to improve mental health and resilience in health workers. It uses validated outcome measures to identify mental health risks and signal where professional support might be needed. By using artificial intelligence, the company uses digital mental health interventions to support the well-being and resilience of health workers.
Another winner - Nyaya Health Nepal introduced an integrated Electronic Health Record in registration, clinical diagnoses, prescriptions, reporting, and supply chain management. The system is aligned with the national reporting platform and a customized public health care system. By using technology to facilitate the coordination of care and integration of data, the system supports providers at health facilities and community health workers to provide free, quality, holistic care.
Compiled by Carol Natukunda, Communications Specialist, ACHEST