Training on the job: getting health workers' training right

Human Resources for Health




Training of health workers has long been an important part of healthcare systems and is needed both before and after workers enter the health services systems as qualified healthcare professionals.  Investment in in-service training (IST) is a crucial part of ensuring the long term efficiency, safety and scalability of health services. After all, who wants to be risk their health by being treated by someone with no, or out of date, training.

As Diana Frymus (USAID) notes “IST has been a key component of building the capability of health workers to competently, safely, and efficiently provide quality services. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that IST practices are not always conducted in the most efficient, effective, and sustainable manner.  The overall goal is that strengthened IST systems will support a health workforce that is well-prepared for helping achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and post-2015 goals.”  This is despite IST already representing a significant share of investments made by Ministries of Health and development partners in strengthening human resources for health There is growing demand for more effective, efficient, and sustainable health worker training.

To address these issues the forthcoming Health Worker IST Improvement Framework (to be launched in late 2013, funded by PEPFAR through USAID) was set up, as Tana Wuliji, (University Research Co., LLC) describes, “In collaboration with over 100 global peers, we developed and reached consensus on the IST Improvement Framework which defines practices to improve training and training systems. The IST improvement framework gives us parameters through which to more thoroughly examine current practices and identify ways in which we can better conduct IST and develop training systems.”

We are delighted to announce the publication of the thematic series in Human Resources for HealthImproving the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of health worker in-service training: Closing the gaps between evidence, practice and outcomes”. Articles in this series range from a framework for evaluating in-service training to a review to identify effective training approaches for health worker continuing professional education (CPE) and what evidence exists of outcomes derived from CPE.

“It was clear in the process of coming together to jointly develop the IST improvement framework that evidence and evaluation for improving IST has been lacking.  This series of articles provides an opportunity to begin filing this gap, and hopefully will encourage others to contribute to further knowledge exchange for strengthening IST and training systems.” Lois Schaefer (USAID) explains.


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