Plenary Session

AAAH Plenary Day 1

Host: AAAH

Cohost: WHO SEARO, WHO WPRO, WHO EMRO, USAID/HRH2030, ADB, JICA, PMAC, IHPP

Date and time: 18 November 2020; 18.00-20:00h Bangkok time (UTC+7)

Main issues (background):

Since the first case of COVID-19 patients was reported in China in January 2020, the number of new cases and deaths are still rising globally. Many countries have faced many pandemic waves from this disease. Health care workers (HCWs) and health workers (HWs) are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response to test, track and trace suspected cases, and treat the COVID-19 patients and still need to deliver essential health care services for non-COVID-19. Therefore, HCWs have faced many challenges to deal with this long period of outbreak both in physical, psychological, family and social issues. Some of them also died from this disease. It aggravates the health system challenges of many shortage HRH’s countries, especially AAAH members’ countries.

Sharing experiences from countries are important lessons learnt for global and AAAH members’ countries to provide effective public health response to COVID-19 outbreak. AAAH webinar series 2020 were organized from August – October 2020, comprising 3 main webinars. The first webinar comprising of 3 episodes focused on mobilizing surge capacity of health care workers in response to COVID19 pandemic:

  • Episode 1: Mobilizing surge capacity for public health actions, which include field epidemiologists, public health workforce for case identification, contact tracing, quarantine, risk communication and community engagement, leverage of private sectors, identify innovation strategies (if any), challenges and recommend effective solutions, organized on 14 August 2020;
  • Episode 2: Mobilizing surge capacity for diagnostic and clinical management which include physicians, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, laboratory technicians. What additional measures are introduced such as package of financial, non-financial incentive including social recognition packages, identify challenges and recommend effective solutions, organized on 21 August 2020;
  • Episode 3: Sustaining non-COVID-19 essential health services and maintaining quality of care (such as non-communicable diseases, accidents and emergencies, and other medical urgencies) by HCWs in the context of COVID-19 response, organized on 28 August 2020.

Based on the first webinar, it found that countries have used various strategies to overcome capacity of HCWs in response to COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Gatekeeping in primary healthcare system;
  • Shifting Task through volunteers and complementary nonmedical staff;
  • Building capacity and training of existing staff;
  • Increasing the number of health workers through recruitment and deployment;
  • Provision of incentives to health workers and volunteers;
  • Addressing mental and emotional stress of health workers;
  • Tapping complementary actors in the health system;
  • Reducing the demand for health services by controlling the outbreak;
  • Cultivating Strong and coordinated leadership and governance during crisis

On this AAAH plenary session of day 1, the global, regional, and national situation and policies on COVID-19 responses will be discussed. The synthesis summary of webinar 1 will be reported and be reflected by HRH experts for formulating a policy recommendation on addressing HCWschallenges in response to COVID19 and other future outbreaks. All HCWs are recognized and are honored for their committing and devoting themselves to address health workforce issues in their countries and making great contributions on UHC and SDGs and COVID-19 outbreak, especially nurses and midwives as part of “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife”.  Importantly, HCWs and the people who lost their lives to COVID-19 will also be honored.

Objectives:

  • To identify the global movement on COVID-19 outbreak;
  • To recognize nurses and midwives for achieving UHC and SDGs and COVID-19 outbreak and HCWs as the frontline workers to play an essential role in detecting the suspected cases and providing care for COVID-19 patients;
  • To synthesize summary of national and global experiences in planning and implementing to mobilize the surge capacity of HCWs who are responsible for public health actions and clinical services in response to COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Identify policy recommendations on addressing HCWschallenges in response to COVID19 and preparing other public health emergencies in the future;
  • To recognize the persons who commit and devote themselves to address health workforce issues in their countries

Moderator / speakers / commentary

Moderator:

  • Dr Walaiporn Patcharanarumol, Director, Global Health Division Office of the Permanent Secretary, and International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

Opening speech by AAAH Chair:

  • Dr. Tran Thi Mai Oanh, Director, Health Strategy and Policy Institute, Vietnam

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region: the lessons learnt from the AAAH’ s webinar series and the way forward
  • Mr Howard Catton, Permanent Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Nurses: “2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife:Nurses for achieving UHC and SDGs and COVID-19 outbreak”
  • Ms Ann Kinnear, Board Member Representing Western Pacific Region, International Confederation of Midwives: “Midwives responding to COVID-19”

Presenter:

  • Mr Manoj Jhalani, Director Health Systems Development, WHO South-East Asia Region : Summary synthesis findings of webinar series’ objective 1: Mobilizing surge capacity of health care workers in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Panelists:  Reflection on summary synthesis findings of objective 1

  • Mr Jim Campbell, Director, Health Workforce Department, WHO HQ
  • Ms Gabrielle Jacob, Programme Manager, Human Resources for Health, WHO EURO
  • Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury, Vice chairperson of BRAC, Bangladesh

Summary by moderator: Dr Walaiporn Patcharanarumol, Director, Global Health Division Office of the Permanent Secretary, and International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

Audiences:

  • AAAH focal points and members’ countries
  • National and subnational health policy-makers responsible for developing and implementing health workforce plans for COVID-19 response
  • International organizations, professional associations, and research institutions working in the field of health systems and more specifically in the area of human resources for health

 

AAAH plenary Day 2

Host: AAAH

Cohost: WHO SEARO, WHO WPRO, WHO EMRO, USAID/HRH2030, ADB, JICA, PMAC, IHPP

Date and time: 19 November 2020; 18.00-19:30h Bangkok time (UTC+7)

Main issues (background):

Health care workers (HCWs) are at the forefront of their countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain essential services. It affected their physical and mental stress, especially the first period of the pandemic because the number of patients were high; workloads were increased; working hours were longer than usual; personal protective equipment (PPE) were shortage; and knowledge related to this disease, its prevention and control, and treatment are limited. Some patients are in very critical condition and need to be admitted in the intensive care units that are limited in the number of beds, specialists, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

HCWs also are at risk of mental health stress due to fatigue and stressful work environments, as well as by violence and stigma by the public against them. The higher risk of getting infected, longer working hours, lack of PPE, the potential of passing the infection to their families, the less ideal response by their governments, and the understanding about COVID-19 all contributed as well in the anxiety of health workers in their line of work.

Although HCWs’ safety are the priorities of all countries, some HCWs are also infected from the COVID-19. The nurses are the most common cadre of health workers who are infected from the deadly virus. Most of infected HCWs with COVID-19 are from their direct work related to the COVID-19 patients. Some are from contact with their infected colleagues or their family members. However, there is no global data system to report the number of HCWs that are infected or died with COVID-19, so it may be underestimated.

The second theme of AAAH webinar series focusing on the importance of occupational risk protection of HCWs were organized in September 2020, comprising 2 episodes:

  • Episode 1: Country experiences from the WHO three Regions (EMR, SEAR and WPR), including Egypt, Thailand, and Philippines, on measures to ensure occupational safety of HCWs against infection and mortality, financing for treatment cost of HCWs affected from COVID infection; COVID insurance coverage, additional hardship incentives and allowance, and adequacy of personal protective gears, organized on 11 September 2020
  • Episode 2: Country experiences from the WHO three Regions (EMR, SEAR and WPR), including Qatar, India, and Japan, on impact of COVID on health care workers’ mental health, stressful work environment, and government’s psychosocial support, including violence against health care workers (if any), and HCW resilience, organized on 18 September 2020

Based on the results of speakers’ sharing experiences in the second webinar, it found that there are many measures that the countries have been used for performing occupational risk protection, reducing work-related impact of COVID-19 on HCWs and providing incentives for HCWs, as follows:

  • Infection prevention and control measures in the healthcare Setting:
  • Setting infection prevention and control policies and measures;
  • Setting health screening and surveillance measures;
  • Setting environmental and managerial components of infection prevention and control;
  • Ensuring the measures’ dissemination and compliance to measures of HCWs;
  • Maximizing the use of available PPEs, especially during the first period of the pandemic that PPEs were shortage;
  • Formulating a streamlined national guideline of reducing virus transmission;
  • Providing online training of HCWs on infection control and measures;
  • Setting regularly online communication platform, such as online meeting with high authorities of government and hospitals for overseeing and discussing the effective measures to overcome the situation
  • Incentives and compensation for health care workers:
  • Formulating policies and resources on safety nets and compensation;
  • Recognizing of the high risk for HCWs being infected while providing healthcare service, including special access to testing, supporting measures during isolation or quarantine, free treatment coverage, compensation in case of severe illness or death, as well as incentives to motivate the health workers to keep them in the service
  • Workrelated impact of COVID19 on health care workers, and how they are addressed
  • Physical stress:
  • Maximizing the use of PPEs;
  • Assigning appropriate duty and working shift
  • Social Stigma:
  • Actively correcting misinformation
  • Promoting public recognition of the HCWs about their contribution in the COVID-19 response and their personal sacrifices to continue providing services despite their fear to be infected
  • Mental stress:
  • Communicating and constant updating of HCWs on daily information about the pandemic using less personal contact modalities, such as short message service (SMS)
  • Training of health workers on mental health to provide psychological first aid
  • Using digital technologies through online platforms to address the mental health stress of HCWs
  • Developing a self-help screening tool for the HCWS to assess their need for further mental health support, such as telephone helplines or the hotline that is manned by psychologists, doctors, and nurses who can provide support for mental health concerns of HCWs
  • Formulating workplace policies and incentives to motivate HCWs, including compensation packages for HCWs, such as flexible work arrangements to balance and adapt to the need of minimizing contact and the need to ensure well-being of the healthcare staff, availing leave credits and allowing health care workers to return to work as normally as possible to reduce burnout
  • Promoting public recognition of HCWs’ contribution to pandemic response

Objectives:

  • To synthesize summary of national and global experiences in occupational risk protection of health care workers in response to COVID-19 pandemic;
  • To Identify policy recommendations on occupational risk protection and ways to overcome HCWsphysical, social, and mental challenges in response to COVID19 and other public health emergencies in the future

Moderator / speakers / commentary

Moderator:

  • Dr Phyllida Travis, Independent consultant; former Director, Department of Health Systems Development, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia Region

Presenter:

  • Dr F. Gulin Gedik, Coordinator, Health Workforce, WHO /EMRO :  Summary synthesis findings of webinar series’ objective 2: Occupational risk protection of health care workers

Panelists:  Reflection on summary synthesis findings of objective 2

  • Prof.James Buchan, WHO CC, UTS Australia
  • Ms Ellen Ku, President of the College of Nursing Hong Kong, Representative of International Council of Nurses
  • Dr. Khuong Anh Tuan, the Deputy Director of Health Strategy and Policy Institute (HSPI), Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

Audiences:

  • AAAH focal points and members’ countries
  • National and subnational health policy-makers responsible for developing and implementing health workforce plans for COVID-19 response
  • International organizations, professional associations, and research institutions working in the field of health systems and more specifically in the area of human resources for health

AAAH plenary Day 3

Host: AAAH

Cohost: WHO SEARO, WHO WPRO, WHO EMRO, USAID/HRH2030, ADB, JICA, PMAC, IHPP

Date and time: 20 November 2020; 18.00-19:30h Bangkok time (UTC+7)

Register for this webinar Click!

Main issues (background):

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all aspects of normal living, including education, in all countries. Because of the concern on safety of students and teachers, the countries formulated the school closure policies. All classes and school activities are suspended suddenly. To continue teaching and learning activities, the traditional modes of teaching that is a face-to-face approach are suddenly changed to non-traditional modes of teaching that are online classes. It causes stress on teachers and students in the transition period. There are many challenges that teachers and students have faced, including limited computer devices and internet connection of some students, especially students who live in remote areas; limited knowledge and experiences of teachers to teach online; and limited on online evaluation.   For health professional education, it focused not only theoretical courses, but also practicum courses. The practicum in hospitals, health facilities, and communities are suspended and postponed. It is a big challenge for educational institutes because the practicum cannot be replaced with online classes.

The third and last theme of AAAH webinar series focused on sharing experiences on health professional training and education in the context of COVID19 pandemic, organized on 9 October 2020, comprising 1 episode:

  • Episode 1: Country experiences from the WHO three Regions (EMR, SEAR and WPR), including UAE, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, on innovations and investment, challenges and effective solutions on pre-service HCW training such as online training and clinical practicum (a. medical and b. nursing and midwifery) in the context of school closures;  in-service and post-graduate training related to public health competencies. This lesson guides future direction of skill mix essential for effective response to public health emergencies.

Based on speakers’ sharing experiences in the third webinar, it found that many strategies have been used for continuing health professional training and education in the context of COVID19 pandemic as follows:

  • Formulating and adapting educational policies based on the disease situation and control;
  • Providing training on how to utilize and prepare classes and materials for teachers and how to study and learn through online means for students;
  • Shifting traditional mode of teaching into innovative teaching approaches and online platform both synchronous and asynchronous ways to ensure safety of all students and teachers;
  • Developing educational innovations in the utilizing present technology and online tools;
  • Developing a clinical laboratory using a high fidelity simulation and virtual patient simulation for increasing clinical practicum of students and avoiding disease transmission from practice in real settings;
  • Developing new evaluation modalities, assessment of learning and learning outcomes that are suitable with new methods of teaching;
  • Revisiting the learning outcomes of the future health professional, including knowledge of population health, public health principles and how the health system works; teamwork; leadership skills, and community engagement
  • Developing new metrics in assessing these newfound learning outcomes and competencies
  • After the pandemic, resuming regular classes with blended learning to prepare teachers and students for the future public health emergencies

Objectives:

  • To synthesize summary of national and global experiences in health professional training and education in the context of COVID19 pandemic;
  • To Identify policy recommendations on health professional training and education during and after COVID19 pandemic and preparedness for other public health emergencies in the future

Moderator / speakers / commentary

Moderator:

  • Ms Marilyn Crane, Senior International Higher Education Advisor, the Emerging Threats Division of the Office of Infectious Disease, USAID’s Bureau for Global Health and USAID’s One Health Workforce- Next Generation project

Presenter:

  • Dr Peter Cowley, Director of the Health Systems Division, WHO WPRO: Summary synthesis findings of webinar series’ objective 3: Health professional training and education in the context of COVID19 pandemic

Panelists:  Reflection on summary synthesis findings of objective 3

  • Prof. Wanicha Chuenkongkaew, Mahidol University and National Health Professional Education Foundation, Thailand: Medical education (AAAH member in SEAR)
  • Dr. Fely Marilyn Lorenzo, Chair of Commission on Higher Education- Technical Committee for Nursing Education: Nursing and/or midwifery education (AAAH member in WPR: Philippines)
  • Dr Mohannad Al Nour, Executive Director, EMPHNET (The Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network) (EMR)

Plan for next AAAH activities:

  • Dr Panarut  Wisawatapnimit, AAAH Secretariat team, Boromarajonani College of Nursing, Bangkok, Faculty of Nursing, Praboromajchanok Institute, Thailand

Closing the 11th AAAH Conference and webinar series:

  • AAAH Chair: Dr. Tran Thi Mai Oanh, Director, Health Strategy and Policy Institute, Vietnam
  • AAAH Chair-Elect: Dr. Tin Tun, Deputy Director General, Department of Human Resources for Health, Myanmar

Audiences:

  • AAAH focal points and members’ countries
  • National and subnational health policy-makers responsible for developing and implementing health workforce plans for COVID-19 response
  • International organizations, professional associations, and research institutions working in the field of health systems and more specifically in the area of human resources for health

AAAH Plenary Program

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