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WHO UNESCO FIP joint session held at the Global Health Workforce Alliance Forum for Human Resources for Health: The Launch of the Global Tripartite Education Action Plan 2008 – 2010

Global Health Workforce Alliance Global forum for Human Resources for Health

The unique partnership between the UN agency for Health, WHO and UN agency for education, UNESCO together with FIP launched the Pharmacy Education Action Plan 2008 – 2010. It was in the spirit of FIP President Dr Kamal Midha’s call for participants to take a proactive and constructive role to address gaps and use innovative and participatory means to develop education that this initiative was officiated. The Action Plan focuses on addressing bottleneck issues in pharmacy education such as academic and institutional capacity, quality assurance, vision and competency. The joint effort of these organizations facilitates a more effective, efficient and concrete approach as well as enabling a multisectoral platform for dialogue, learning and sharing of evidence and experience at global, regional and local levels.

The session affirmed the need to harness the mutual interests, expertise and efforts of education and health sectors and professional bodies towards tangible steps that build education capacity. In a shifting environment of professional roles and challenges, it is crucial to enable progression towards a pharmacy workforce that is relevant to providing services that meet local needs. In order to move beyond the current paradigm of stand-alone content driven educational systems, educational investment and development must be integrated into broader health workforce and service planning.

Participants from a diverse background including students, research councils, ministries of health, health agencies, professional bodies and higher education institutions voiced their support for and agreement with the objectives and approach of the WHO UNESCO FIP Pharmacy Education Action Plan. Amongst them Steve Kimatu, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Ministry of Health, Kenya, emphasized the importance of intersectoral collaboration between professional bodies, education and health ministries in an effort that led to a ten-fold scale up in the production of pharmaceutical technologists in Kenya. Lungwani Muungo, Head, Pharmacy Department, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, described the needs driven approach to the development of the first pharmacist training degree in the country and emphasized that without collaboration between the regulatory and professional bodies and ministries of health, education and finance, it would not have been possible. Manuel Dayrit, Director, Human Resources for Health, WHO, acknowledged the important role of FIP in bringing the two UN agencies for education and health together with a professional body in this collaboration. In strengthening the relationships at the global level between WHO and UNESCO, the potential to build closer dialogues between ministries of health and education is enhanced. In the process of the action plan, Manuel urged participants to act, reflect and undertake further action and examine practical steps to move forward at the country level with hopes that other professions will be engaged in the process.

The Pharmacy Education Action Plan 2008 – 2010 is centered on a paradigm of needs-based education where it is essential for education to produce a competent workforce appropriate to the delivery of locally relevant services to meet health needs, coupled with a far reaching network of global bodies working together in collaboration, it forms a clear and concise strategy to realize the expected outcomes of the Action Plan.

For more information: www.fip.org/education