Strengthening Health Workforce Education and Training in the South-East Asia Region

IFMSA declares the importance of the quality of health workforce education and training during the 67th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee of South-East Asia. The meeting was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 9th-12th September 2014.

A draft “Regional Strategy on Strengthening Health Workforce Education and Training in the South-East Asia Region” was developed by WHO Regional Office, addressing the urgent need to improve the quantity and quality of health workforce in the region. However, IFMSA realized this effort was mainly focused on quantitative enhancement of health professionals, whilst there is also a need to address the quality of the training and education of the health workforce in the region. In this context, IFMSA stated to the WHO and the regional governments that the quality of the education and training should also be considered as an essential component to improve our health system. Furthermore, the statement indicated that the medical students should be considered as partners in developing such strategies to improve the health workforce education and training. This intervention was based on IFMSA’s Policy Statement “Improving the Quality of Residency” adopted in March Meeting 2014 in Tunisia. The Intervention is as followed:

Honourable ministers and distinguished delegates to the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia, we thank you and express gratitude for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

IFMSA represents more than a million medical students from 117 countries. One of the main guiding principles of IFMSA is to uphold the highest ethical and professional values of the medical profession. On behalf of our federation we are privileged to express our sincere appreciation for the untiring efforts of WHO and Member States to strengthen health workforce education and training.

It is indeed true that the health workforce contributes significantly to the functioning of health systems which enables equitable access to health care and good health outcomes. We believe that the quality of training and education ultimately helps determine the competence of the health workforce. This health workforce, being one of the main components of the health system, will ultimately help define the quality of the health system. It is important to not only strengthen the health workforce but also to focus on the quality of the training and education to ensure the best possible health outcomes.

In this context we wish to reiterate the importance of maintaining conducive training conditions as a vital component of health workforce education, since it is directly correlated to both quality of training as well as patient safety. The effective enforcement of regulations will help provide more positive outcomes in the longer run.

We, the IFMSA, therefore reiterate that all Member States continue to maintain adequate and high standards for health workforce training and education that will be commensurate with the goals and objectives of such training in terms of quality and efficacy, and that such standards be constantly monitored and evaluated.

We of the IFMSA urge that all medical students undergoing health education and training are considered partners in improving the health of the people of the world.

We take this opportunity to reiterate our support to uphold the commitments of WHO to make this world a healthier place. Thank you 

Wonyun Lee, SCOPH Regional Assistant for Asia-Pacific
[email protected]

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