Accelerating Private Sector Responses to the Human Resources for Health Crisis
A new report, “Health Workforce Innovation: Accelerating Private Sector Responses to the Human Resources for Health Crisis” issued by an international group of experts in health and private sector, stressed the importance of the private sector in responding to the HRH crisis and the need for further health workforce innovation, that increased the supply, improved the effectiveness of health workers.
Chaired by Honourable Dr Joseph Mwenya Kasonde, Minister of Health of Zambia, an impressive lineup of panelists shared examples of private sector initiatives - achievements and challenges in increasing health worker numbers and improving deployment, at a panel discussion, held yesterday, at a side event during the 65th World Health Assembly at the United Nations, in Geneva.
Mr Oliver Hazemba, Technical Regional Advisor, Africa, Centre for Pharmaceutical Management, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), presented a case study from Zambia - Zambia Access to ACT Initiative (ZAAI) which seeks to improve population access to diagnostics in Zambia through the reduction of private sector prices and increased community awareness. He spoke of the challenges, lessons learned.
Mr John Tomaro, Head of the Health Department of the Aga Khan Development Foundation spoke on their programme of supporting nurses for gender empowerment, illustrating examples from East Africa and Aga Khan’s Advanced Nursing Studies Programme. He outlined government regulation and women’s access to educational opportunities as constraints and challenges encountered. He further stressed the need for promoting changes in the regulatory environment for educational institutions; support professional associations and championing gender equality as the way forward.
Professor Jeffrey Moe, Private Sector Task Force Director, Duke University, talked on the achievements, challenges and lessons learnt in private sector involvement toward increasing access to health workers and presented some findings from projects that the Task Force had reviewed for the report.
Mr Denis J Robson, Director, African Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Medical, spoke to J&J’s CSR health programme internationally, which focuses on training and leadership programmes, funding Health fellowships and scholarships directly contributing to improved training of health workers, managers, administrators, teachers, trainers and policy makers. For example, J&J provides grants to enable nurses from East Africa to participate in the Advanced Nursing Studies (ANS) Programme of the Aga Khan University, East Africa, with the aim of improving nursing practice and patient care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels in the public and private sectors in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Speakers recommend steps to be taken towards achieving a productive partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing the health workforce crisis, through dialogue and the use of the Country Coordination and the Facilitation (CCF) approach. Other recommendations included leveraging productivity through use of technology and increase evidence, accountability, training and access to funding, and the need to match training and staffing to actual systems of care.