11-15 November 2007:
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In September 2006, the Health Care Professional (HCP) associations affiliated with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) issued a Joint Statement to guide HCPs in their efforts to work with key stakeholders on issues of advocacy, capacity development, and implementation of health policies at country level.
A meeting of HCP Associations was facilitated by the PMNCH around that time to identify means of increasing the effectiveness of Associations in contributing to country efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Among the challenges discussed was the need to clarify and strengthen the role of HCP Associations at country level. This need was echoed during the 2007 PMNCH Partners' Forum.
In addition, the World Health Report, 2006, “Working together for health”, highlighted the potential of HCP Associations as important actors in helping to address the health sector human resources crisis. Several other meetings and documents, including the Multi-country Forum on Engaging the Private Sector in Child Health (in Africa), held in Munyonyo, Uganda in November 2005, and some less formal discussions have also reinforced the importance of HCP Associations taking action.
In this context, the PMNCH Secretariat, with guidance from an HCP Workshops Advisory Group*, is preparing a series of multi-country workshops. The workshops will bring together representatives from national professional associations involved in service delivery, and public sector representatives, to establish a common vision and identify practical means by which HCP Associations can maximize their contribution to national maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) policies and programmes.
The first of these workshops took place in Blantyre, Malawi, and assembled teams of 6 - 8 HCP Associations' representatives and senior government officials from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. In addition, 15 resource persons from regional and international associations and agencies have been invited to enrich the exchange and learn from the national associations about the types of support that they need in order to be more efficient.
Workshop discussions focused on the following five areas of work: the role of HCP Associations in advocacy and policy dialogue, planning for MNCH, quality improvement, working together to address the MNCH human resources crisis, and organizational strengthening of the associations themselves. Panel discussions on these topics helped identify actions that need to be undertaken by HCP Associations in order to increase the impact of their contributions. These discussions also opened communications across professional lines as well as between HCP Associations and the public sector.
* Members are representatives on the PMNCH Board of the International Pediatric Association, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and the International Confederation of Midwives.
11-15 November 2007:
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