New World Health Organization health leaders training programme gets under way with major grant
24 August 2004 | Geneva - The World Health Organization's (WHO) new programme to train the next generation of health leaders is now taking applications from around the world. The Health Leadership Service aims to equip dozens of people to lead on improving public health, particularly in developing countries. A grant of US$ 5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides funding for this programme over four years.
"We are delighted that this important work is beginning," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General. "In the face of today's global challenges of poverty, inequities, disease and epidemics, there is an increasing demand for dynamic health leaders with sound technical skills. This programme will help meet this demand."
"We're very pleased to support WHO's efforts to develop a new generation of global health leaders," said Dr David Fleming, director of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Strategies programme. "By training some of the world's brightest young public health professionals, the Health Leadership Service will help build a strong foundation for the future of health in the developing world."
WHO is accepting applications for the programme now, for courses beginning early in 2005. The first phase of the programme aims to train between eight and 10 young public health professionals over a two-year period. The funds will be used to enrol people who already have public health related backgrounds into a programme which combines formal training with supervised practical work.
They will initially spend four weeks at WHO headquarters in Geneva and will then travel to one of WHO's country or regional offices, where they will work on specific technical projects, supervised by WHO staff in countries and at headquarters. Candidates will work on a range of projects: from developing programme plans for health interventions to field investigations of potentially serious public health problems including responding to epidemics and other emergencies.
After a few months, the young professionals will return to Geneva for a further two weeks of intensive study, followed by more work in a WHO country or regional office.
The focus of the Service is to develop future health leaders who combine strong technical knowledge with management, strategic and communications skills. Selected candidates will benefit from WHO's wide access to national leaders and health experts at national and international levels. Graduating candidates will be encouraged to return to work in developing countries in Ministries of Health, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations.
The Health Leadership Service is advertising for the first group of candidates over the coming months. Qualified applicants will be under 38 years of age with an advanced degree in a field related to public health and work experience relevant to public health. At least half will be women; 80% will be from developing countries. This process will be repeated annually.
"Graduates from the HLS will acquire a unique combination of hands-on public health and leadership competencies through learning-by-doing. These skills will enable them to make invaluable contributions to overcoming the major health systems challenges in the years to come," said Dr Tim Evans, Assistant Director General, Evidence and Information for Policy at the WHO.