The ACHEST Director of Health Workforce and Development, Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde participated at the symposium on the updated WHO guideline on health workforce development, attraction, recruitment and retention in rural and remote areas.
The virtual symposium was hosted on 13th May 2021by The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) and the World Health Organization. It started off in a plenary and then broke up into smaller groups for discussion.
Dr.Kiguli-Malwadde who is the TUFH Secretary General and AFREHealth Vice President reporting on what was discussed in her group, called for a multisectoral approach to health advocacy.
“Advocacy may vary from locality to locality depending on what the challenges are. But it should be multi-sectoral. This approach has its challenges but that is the way to go. Include all stakeholders. Issues of transport and financing should not be left to the ministries of health,” she said.
Commenting on research, Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde said “evidence is important and we should continue doing research in the rural communities to come up with evidence for advocacy.”
She also highlighted the importance of partnerships between NGOs, governments and the community. “For the community, we should use the people of influence. Identifying the people that can reach the policy makers is important as they can bridge the gap between the communities and government. If these people can gather information from the communities, they also have influence that will go a long way in strengthening advocacy,” explained Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde.
In the overview of the WHO guideline, it is noted that with nearly half of the world’s population living in a rural or remote area, meeting the health needs of rural populations, where over 80% of the world’s extremely poor live, is imperative in achieving Universal Health Coverage. Leaving no one behind means ensuring that health workers are available in rural and remote areas.
In her presentation, WHO’s Michelle McIsaac said: “2021 is the international year of the health and care workers and the vision of the guideline aligns very much with the theme – Protect. Invest Together. The idea is that we need to invest in rural health workers for their development, attraction, recruitment and retention in rural and remote areas.”
Find the recording of the symposium here: https://youtu.be/3XUjw9yD2lE
Full WHO Guideline: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240024229