By Loice Epetiru, Key Correspondent for the Irish Forum for Global Health
The topic: “Making Partnerships Work for Workforce 2030” was one of the track session topics deliberated on at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. From 13th-17th November 2017, a thousand delegates convened at the Royal Dublin Society to share experiences, best practices, and forge ways for curbing the global human resources for health crisis.
Royal Dublin Society became a beehive of activities with Human Resources for Health experts, Ministers of Health and Finance, and health professionals all in attendance. This forum started after member states and constituency representatives on the Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance contributed efforts to consolidate evidence around the need for a comprehensive health labour market framework for universal health coverage. The framework subsequently became a strategy that now guides all the Global strategies on human resources for health: “Workforce 2030”.
Some participants rated the oral session on Making Partnerships Work for Workforce 2030 as one of the most inspiring of the whole Forum. Prof. Francis Omaswa who spent many years of his career managing partnerships at the Global Health Workforce Alliance as the founding Director, and one of the Principal Investigators of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), shared his experience on effective partnerships. He recognized that partnerships work very well when all players have a strong vision, recounting the example of MEPI as a classic case of a successfully managed partnership where 13 medical schools in 12 sub-Saharan African countries collaborated to increase their own capacity to produce better-trained doctors. This model therefore gives the assurance that the Workforce 2030 implementation through partnerships if managed well will thrive.
Partnerships provide an effective tool for mentorship, knowledge sharing and a platform for leadership, a key driver of success.
Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Mlwadde, the Deputy Secretary General of Network Towards Unity for Health acknowledged the great role played by partnerships in mentoring young educationists. “I benefited from strong mentorship as a member of the aforementioned partnership cohort for 15 years before taking the leadership mantle, which would not have been possible without the South-to-South partnership initiatives.” Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde recollected while presenting at the oral session.
Whereas the dwindling funding opportunities for health programming remains a major bottleneck towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, experts at the session affirmed partnerships as the golden bullet that will salvage this challenge. Institutions taking the route of partnerships should trade on it cautiously especially when collaborating with stronger institutions that sometimes exhibit selfish tendencies and dwarf their less powerful counterparts.
The feelings of the audience during this oral session was summarized by E. Oluwabunmi Olapade-Olaopa, a delegate from Nigeria who re-echoed that for partnerships to work well, relationship-building and trust built on sincerity should take the center stage. As we look for funding there is a greater need to draw lessons from other global commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals, and now the Sustainable Development Goals, implemented in partnership to understand what worked and did not work at country and global spectrum.
November 17th, 2017
Loice Epetiru is a Development Communicator who recently completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management at Uganda Management Institute in Uganda after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication. Epetiru loves communicating development related issues with a keen eye on health: human resources for health, leadership, governance and financing for health. She is currently working as a Communications’ Specialist at African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).