Human Resources for Health: Highlights from Fourth Global Forum

ForumLogo-Option3-1During the past few months I have followed several national and global conferences and events. One that caught my interest was the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health held in Dublin in November 2017. Although I could not attend in person, I did enjoy the live streaming of sessions and the social media interaction on the theme – Building the Health Workforce of the Future. The forum concluded with the Dublin Declaration on Human Resources for Health and a Youth Call for Action.

As an observer from afar it was interesting to listen to some of the plenary sessions and to learn about organizations collaborating on this strategic agenda including the Global Health Workforce Network. There is an increasing recognition of the benefits of investing in a well-educated, supported health workforce, both in terms of a nation’s economic growth and health system development.

The Youth Call for Action is noteworthy because it marked the first time that students and young health professionals have met in an organized Youth Forum attached to the Human Resources for Health Forum. Key messages from their participation in the forum include:

  • Youth are an essential agent of change in the world;
  • Youth are an asset for achieving the 2030 agenda on sustainable development;
  • A need for country-level action on decent jobs for youth in health and social sectors;
  • Create opportunities for youth to participate in global meetings; and
  • Call upon the World Health Organization to establish a WHO Hub on Youth within the Global Health Workforce Network.

The president of the International Council of Nurses, Annette Kennedy, was a speaker at the closing plenary. She pledged support from ICN for implementing the Dublin Declaration and welcomed the “collective political commitment demonstrated at the Forum.” She highlighted ICN initiatives to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage – see the November 21, 2017 media release from ICN for details.

Posted by Nora Whyte – December 11, 2017.

Nursing Now! Campaign to Launch in 2018

In my June 28 post on the 2017 International Council of Nurses Congress, I referred to a presentation on the Triple Impact Report of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health.  During the Congress, Lord Nigel Crisp and Dr. Frances Hughes offered an exciting preview of a global campaign arising from the report’s recommendations.

The Nursing Now! Campaign is being developed in the coming months – it will be interesting to follow as plans take shape for key strategies and partnerships. As noted in an August Update, the campaign’s goal is “to raise the status and profile of nursing globally so that it can make an ever greater contribution to health and well-being.” Details of proposed objectives and organizational partners are found in the August Update issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. The campaign’s intent is to increase the capacity of nursing to influence policy and to focus on nurse leadership at local, national and global levels.

Stay tuned for updates in advance of the formal launch scheduled for early in 2018.

ICN 2017 Congress Report by Nora Whyte

What a pleasure it was to be among 8,200 nurses from 135 countries who participated in the International Council of Nurses 2017 Congress in Barcelona in May! Hosted by the Spanish General Council of Nursing, this congress with its timely theme – Nurses at the Forefront Transforming Care – lived up to all expectations with stimulating plenary speakers, concurrent sessions and highly engaged nurses from around the globe.

ICN Congress Welcome

ICN Congress Welcome

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) served as a guiding framework with emphasis on nurses as key to achieving the goals. Plenary presentations had a common theme of policy advocacy for health system change and sessions provided informative examples of national nursing associations contributing to positive change in their countries.

Plenary speakers included Dr. Linda Aiken and Dr. Mary Wakefield from the US, Dr. Julia Duncan-Cassell from Liberia and Lord Nigel Crisp from the UK. In her keynote on Safe Staffing to Transform Care, Linda Aiken presented highlights from her research in 30 countries to show how evidence-based staffing make a difference to patient outcomes. Each 10% decrease in the proportion of RNs in hospitals is associated with a 12% increase in risk of mortality. She noted that there is “plenty of evidence to convince governments to invest in nursing” but that safe staffing remains an issue.

Lord Nigel Crisp of the UK House of Lords and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health (APPG) spoke about the work of the APPG in developing its 2016 Triple Impact Report:

Increasing the number of nurses, and developing nursing so that nurses can achieve their potential, will also have a wider triple impact of improving health, promoting gender equality and supporting economic growth (APPG, p.3).

Student Volunteers at ICN Congress. Photo credit: ICN

Student Volunteers at ICN Congress. Photo credit: ICN

The presence of nursing students during the congress was impressive: Spanish students were active as volunteers and other students brought their perspectives to sessions where they asked great questions. It was exciting to hear about the inaugural meeting of the Global Association of Student and Novice Nurses held in conjunction with the congress.

Informal Networking Outside Barcelona International Conference Centre

Informal Networking Outside Barcelona International Conference Centre

On a personal level, it was particularly meaningful to meet nurse leaders from around the globe including some members of the ICN Board of Directors. There were messages of thanks to outgoing president Judith Shamian and words of welcome to the incoming Board of Directors and new president Annette Kennedy who brings great experience and enthusiasm to her new role. ICN presidents have a tradition of selecting a “watchword” to guide their term – Annette Kennedy announced her watchword Together as highlighted in this excerpt from her acceptance speech:

Together we can ensure that we have a voice at every committee and policy table related to health care. Together we can encourage investment in primary care, health promotion and disease prevention and together we can provide that care. Together we can convince the public and policy makers that investing in health is an investment in our people and our economy. Together we can seek better working conditions for all nurses. Together we can realise our collective potential to make the world a healthier place for everyone. (ICN Press Information, June 2, 2017).

Looking to the future, ICN’s Voice to Lead campaign launched for International Nurses Day this year, will continue as a dynamic resource as ICN strengthens its social media and furthers its work on the SDGs.

The entire congress experience – with opportunities for stimulating exchange of ideas and  meeting nurses from many countries – was worthwhile in every way. To cap it off, I enjoyed extra days exploring the beautiful city of Barcelona!

Evening view of Barcelona - May 2017

Evening view of Barcelona – May 2017

 

British Columbia Provincial Election 2017

Three organizations I follow closely in my home province of British Columbia have put together informative tools and resources for the 2017 provincial election campaign.

The Public Health Association BC (PHABC) has launched its provincial election platform calling for immediate action to reduce poverty and inequities as well as ideas for longer term policy advocacy. PHABC resources include an election toolkit and an opportunity for sharing ideas on public health issues through a survey on the future of public health.

The BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) has organized its election messages around the UN Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting the point that the Global Goals apply both locally and globally. BCCIC’s election website is worth a visit for great resources and a push for political leadership on these issues.

The Association of Registered Nurses of BC (ARNBC) has developed an election toolkit with information on selected topics including Aboriginal health, rural health, end-of-life care and social determinants of health. For each topic there are briefing materials and suggested questions to ask candidates. The toolkit also offers campaign tips and ideas for use of social media.

Posted by Nora Whyte

 

Community Health: Action for Change

banner0-1The International Collaboration for Community Health Nursing Research has announced the call for abstracts for its 7th International Conference. The themes are:

Innovation & new trends in community health
Community involvement – best practices
Community nurses – skills development; redefining roles for new
challenges
Health policy – challenges & impact
National & international collaboration & partnerships in community
health
Research for the future

The conference takes place in September 2017 and the abstract deadline is May 30.

It’s exciting to see that this event is being held in Johannesburg where I lived and worked for three years.

Nora Whyte

Health Systems Global: Vancouver Statement

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The Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research wrapped up on November 18, 2016 (see previous post below dated November 15).  It was interesting to follow some of the live coverage and social media commentary during the event. The organizers issued a statement at the conclusion of the Symposium to highlight key reflections on the deliberations and to outline proposed actions. The Vancouver Statement builds on achievements and changing contexts since the Third Global Symposium held in Cape Town in 2014. The changes include adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, increased attention to Universal Health Coverage and a greater recognition of the role of communities in shaping health policy.

For background on Health Systems Global and current activities, see the Health Systems Global Website.

 

Global symposium on health systems research

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The fourth global symposium on health systems research is underway in Vancouver this week: November 14-18. There is live coverage and access to e-posters as well as other content throughout the week.

Participants are exploring the timely theme of ‘resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world’ as they meet in person and engage through social media.

Key points on the meaning of the theme are highlighted here:

datacard1_resilient-and-responsive

International Council of Nurses 2017 Congress

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) will hold its next quadrennial congress in Barcelona, Spain from May 27 to June 1, 2017.

The congress theme of nurses at the forefront transforming care will feature sessions on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and papers grouped by themes including equity/ethics/human rights; health promotion and disease prevention; information and communication technology; nursing education and learning; regulation; and history. The congress will also provide opportunities for network meetings, a student assembly and meetings of the ICN member organizations known as the Council of National Nursing Association Representatives (CNR).

 

Student Assembly at 2013 ICN Congress in Australia.

Student Assembly at 2013 ICN Congress in Australia.

 

ICN has outlined three main objectives of the Congress:

  1. To demonstrate and advance the nursing contribution to informed and sustainable health policies;
  2. To support nursing’s contribution to evidence-based healthcare and to encourage problem-solving approaches to health priority needs; and
  3. To provide opportunities for an in-depth exchange of experience and expertise within and beyond the international nursing community.

Note: The abstract deadline is October 10, 2016.

Posted by Nora Whyte

World Health Organization’s Strategic Directions on the Global Health Workforce

World Health Assembly 2016. Photo credit: WHO/L. Cipriani

World Health Assembly 2016.
Photo credit: WHO/L. Cipriani

 

Two important policy documents were adopted by the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016:

Both strategic frameworks provide direction on the global health workforce in support of achieving universal health coverage by overcoming gaps in availability, access and education.  The Workforce 2030 document provides context on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the push to universal health coverage outlining milestones for 2020 and 2030. I have been reviewing the nursing and midwifery document with great interest as I reflect on its relevance to my work as a nursing consultant. The document is well organized in its presentation of four themes and guiding principles followed by an implementation section on proposed action and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. The thematic areas are:

  1. Ensuring an educated, competent and motivated nursing and midwifery workforce within effective and responsive health systems at all levels and in different settings.
  2. Optimizing policy development, effective leadership, management and governance.
  3. Working together to maximize the capacities and potentials of nurses and midwives through intra- and interprofessional collaborative partnerships, education and continuing professional development.
  4. Mobilizing political will to invest in building effective evidence-based nursing and midwifery workforce development (WHO, 2016, p. 14).

In reading the elaboration on each theme, I am pleased to note attention to positive work environments, recognition of the value of investing in education and professional development and discussion of leadership and advocacy for responsive health systems. Further, the document highlights the importance of engaging professional associations of nurses and midwives in policy development.

Although the document is intended primarily for the WHO system, including its regional offices and member countries, there is scope for the contributions of civil society partners such as nursing and midwifery professional associations and regulatory bodies. In proposing action on each of the four themes, the WHO identifies strategic interventions at the national, regional and global levels as well as a role for partner organizations. One such partner is the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a contributor to consultation sessions in development of the document and an advocate for collaborative efforts to improve global health. For those interested in further background reading, ICN maintains a collection of resources on health workforce developments.

This topic will be highlighted during the next ICN Congress will take place in Barcelona from May 27 to June 1, 2017. The Congress Website has preliminary information and detailed instructions for submitting online abstracts until October 10, 2016. The Congress theme – Nurses at the forefront transforming care – has been chosen to tie in with universal health coverage, strengthening the health workforce and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Posted by Nora Whyte

June 1, 2016

Thinking about Quality Improvement

Last year I signed up for updates from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the organization known for the Triple Aim framework. I have been learning about IHI’s impressive work and have appreciated the resources available on the organization’s website. This week I participated in an excellent webinar featuring Dr. Don Berwick, IHI President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, and Dr. Jessica Berwick, Internist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussing the topic Morality Matters: How to Reset the Mission of Quality Improvement.

WIHISlides_MoralityMatters_Feb18

Their starting point was a keynote presentation by Don Berwick given at IHI’s National Forum last December in which he had raised concerns about the tensions experienced in healthcare today arising from two eras: professional dominance in era one followed by a move to accountability, measurement and greater scrutiny in era two. He proposed steps to a third era – the focus of the February 18 webinar – with a plea to decrease excessive measurement among other steps (See slide 8 in the webinar slides). To move into a moral era, he outlined the need to recommit to the science of improvement, protect civility within healthcare and focus on the patient (“Listen, really listen”). Jessica Berwick offered commentary and examples from her current experience as a new internist and hospitalist in Boston. It was interesting to hear from this dynamic father and daughter team as they talked about what really matters and explored ways to overcome the challenges imposed by corporate entities and external systems. They stimulated my thinking about the importance of values to the quest of improving health and healthcare delivery.

Please see links to selected IHI resources:

A primer on the Triple Aim framework, history and application is found on the IHI Triple Aim Initiative page.

Audio recording of Morality Matters: How to Reset the Mission of Quality Improvement. (Feb. 18, 2016)

Video recording of Don Berwick’s IHI National Forum presentation (Dec. 9, 2015)