ACHEST’s Director of Health Workforce Education and Development Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde has been appointed to the WHO working group that is developing global competency standards on refugee and migrant health.
The strategic working group will provide technical support and inputs for WHO Health and Migration Programme PHM and the Health Workforce HWF departments in the development of global competency standards for refugees and migrant health.
It will also support high level advocacy and provide advice to enhance the buy-in by other academic institutions/ universities to use the global competency standards.
Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde, who is also the AFREhealth Vice President, was appointed alongside 9 other experts from top academic institutions/WHO Collaborating Centres that are leading in global or regional health and migration/displacement.
Commenting on her appointment, Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde said, “It is a privilege for me to serve on this committee, these global standards are key to transformation of health professions education. It is important to guide the training and influence the practice for the underserved groups such as refugees and migrants.”
Other experts on the working group include Associate Prof. J O Vearey, the Director African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; Professor Cynthia Whitehead, the Director of Department of Family and Community Medicine (WHO Collaborating Centre) University of Toronto; Prof. Paul Spiegel, the Director Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health; Dr. Aula Abarra Honorary Clinical Lecturer Department of Infectious Disease, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Fouad M. Fouad an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
Others are: Prof Allan Krasnik from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Prof. Istvan Szilard Chief Scientific Adviser University of Pécs Medical School, Hungary, Co-head WHO Collaborating Centre for Migration Health Training and Research; Ass Prof Jill Benson, the Director of Health in Human Diversity unit, Discipline of General Practice, University of Adelaide; and Prof Indika Karunathilake, the head of Department of Medical Education, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
This Working Group acts as an advisory body to WHO, through the Health and Migration Programme (PHM) and the Department of Health Workforce (HWF), on the development of the Global Competency Standards for refugee and migrant health. The development is expected to be completed by March 2021.
While the HWF has already developed a Global Competency Framework towards Universal Health Coverage(UHC), identifying the competencies and areas of practice for health workers through the lens of primary health care (PHC) , WHO observes that there is a need to specifically tailor the competencies in the context of migrant and refugee health.
“By setting the benchmark for service providers—and with a view to informing the development of education and training curricula—the Global Competency Standards for the effective provision of health services to migrants and refugees will support better health outcomes for the population groups,” a concept note by WHO reads.
Accordingly, the objective is that once adapted by both PHM and HWF, the Framework will inform the development of in-service and pre-service competency-based standards towards providing health services to refugees and migrants. It will also inform the development of curricula content, designed to be used through an adapt-and-adopt approach; in the context of mobile and refugee populations' health needs, services provided, and occupational scopes of practice.
“The core health worker competencies for the effective provision of health services to improve refugee and migrant health will be compiled in this document. They will reflect the knowledge, skills and attitudes that health workers in PHC need, to protect, promote and maintain health in the community to provide health services to refugees and migrants,” the concept note reads in part.
It should be noted that in 2019, the World Health Assembly Members States agreed to a five-year global action plan to promote the health of refugees and migrants (GAP:2019-2023). The GAP focuses on achieving UHC for refugees and migrants and for host populations. In order to achieve the goal, the GAP calls for building of health care capacity for service provision, affordable and non-discriminatory access and reduced communication barriers, and training health care providers in culturally-sensitive service delivery and provisions for refugees and migrants with disabilities.
Compiled by Carol Natukunda