IFGH 2012: Sudan Academy of Health Sciences: an Innovative Response to Health Workforce Crisis

January 27, 2012

Authors: Badr E.

Author Affiliations:Academy of Health Sciences (AHS), Khartoum, Sudan

Option 2– Lessons from the field; project and programme evaluations; and syntheses or analyses

Presented as – Oral Presentation

Issues:

Human resources for health (HRH) are critical for health systems and population health improvement. Yet, there are global shortages of HRH reaching crisis level in several countries. Sudan witnesses overall shortage in HRH and skill mix imbalances typified by production of five physicians for every one nurse. Nursing gap is consequent upon failure of a shift from vocational to university nursing education. This situation has adversely affected health care coverage and quality

Description:

In response to the crisis, the Academy of Health Sciences (AHS) was established in 2005 by the Federal Ministry of Health to scale up university education of nurses, midwives and paramedics. Over five years, the AHS enrolled around 18.000 students through a decentralized approach based on branches in the 15 states of Sudan. Expansion was enabled through utilizing existing premises of vocational schools, and using health facilities and health providers to boost infrastructure and teaching faculty. Policies of subsidized education, provision of training jobs and quota system of intake helped in securing adequate number of qualified applicants and geographical balance.

Lessons learned:

The experience of AHS is showing success in scaling up HRH education. Despite challenges, the AHS model is now well on tract in addressing the crisis with signs of positive effects on relevance and rural retention; over 90 percent of graduates are retained in their local areas. Main lessons include the importance of advocacy,centrality of political support and partnerships, soundness of decentralized governance of education,innovative funding, and utilization of existing resources.

Next steps:

The AHS is embracing a consolidation phase. Main directions include strengthening supervision and quality assurance measures, utilizing potential of information technology for learning and enhancing international networking. Political commitment and partnerships need to be maintained to ensure anchoring of the AHS as strategic institution for health improvement in Sudan.

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