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Working with WHO on Pandemic Preparedness in Europe

WHO/Europe and KIT have launched their novel training course on health workforce leadership and management in Europe. The training aims to support government decision-makers in improving their human resources for health (HRH) leadership skills.

The unprecedented health workforce crisis demands good governance, mobilization of multiple stakeholders, and effective stewardship of an HRH agenda. In order to achieve that, the course was centered on how to plan, how to motivate, and how to let health workers do the things they do best.

Participating government officials came from five countries: Armenia, Georgia, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, and Romania.

Health workforce top priority

“There is no health without the workforce, and strengthening and supporting health workers is key to ensuring people’s access to high-quality health services and a top priority for us at WHO/Europe,” said WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, as he welcomed participants to the course. “This is even more urgent given the crisis currently affecting health workers”, he added. The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the crucial need to improve the availability, sustainability, and well-being of the health workforce.

Developing a new course

KIT was chosen as a partner to contextualize an existing WHO course on HRH for the five target countries and to train the participants as well, says Irina Wagner project lead and trainer. However, Wagner and her colleague at KIT, Marjolein Dieleman, developed almost a new course, based on the material KIT developed for its own Master courses on HRH.  

To fine-tune the course, KIT did additional research in the five countries. The course material was also adapted to the needs of health professionals already working at the departments of health; the content was of a very practical nature with only a dash of applied theory. The course lasted one week and was held in Copenhagen. As there was no one common language, the course was held in English.

Three common problems

The research showed that at least three common problems in the Eastern European countries could be identified, says Wagner.

Moment of truth

The five-day course was held in February 2023. Participants will return to Copenhagen at the end of April to deliver country presentations and receive official course certificates. Wagner says that it is a moment to look forward to. It’s also a moment of truth – a chance to find out if the course was really effective. The feedback from the participants will inform the development of future courses that the WHO is probably planning to hold in former Soviet states.

At KIT we remain ready and excited to develop this partnership even further.