Webinar 3

Webinar 3: Health professional training and education in the context of COVID-19 pandemic  

Host: WHO Western Pacific Region


Date and time9 October 2020 during 18.00-19:30h Bangkok time (UTC+7)

Main issues:  

COVID-19 pandemic has led to the development of extraordinary circumstances in most countries of the world. Like many other sectors, education sector has been among the very first ones to suffer from the impact of COVID-19 with the closure of educational institutions at all levels, including health professions education institutions. This has led to disruption of teaching and learning activities, interruption in the completion of their curricula, disruptions in exams. In many countries medical institutions have started making efforts to resume education as much as possible through various means. Rapid transition from traditional methods of teaching and learning to online teaching methods has raised challenges and concerns about the completion of curricula, clinal and practical training, assessment as well as quality education.

In the meantime many countries are facing shortage of health professionals with core public health and clinical skills for rapid COVID-19 response. Several key competencies are required for a multidisciplinary health workforce to deliver effective disease control and health care services under the new normal, for example, contact tracing, infection prevention and control, risk communications, acute care management, palliative care, and telemedicine, etc.  Drawing from the lessons of the pandemic, there is an urgent need to review the existing national health workforce education and capacity building strategies, identify gaps in current health education core competency package, and discuss can to improve health workforce education and training systems to fit for effective public health emergency response in the future.


  • To identify the challenges and good practice of various innovative modalities and approaches implemented to ensure continuity of health professional education during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • To understand and identify gaps in the existing public health and clinical competency training across various health professions drawing upon lessons from the COVID-19 response;
  • To explore future direction of the core skill mix required and adaptive health professional education methods for effective and resilient response to public health emergencies.

Moderator / Speakers / Commentary

Introductory and Closing Remarks:

  • Mr Martin Taylor, Director Health Systems and Services, WHO Western Pacific Region


  • Prof Des Gorman from University of Auckland, New Zealand


Speaker 1: Country experience from a high COVID-19 burden country in EMR

  • Professor Hossam Hamdy, Chancellor, Gulf Medical University, Ajman, UAE.

Speaker 2: Country experience from a high COVID-19 burden country in SEAR

  • Professor Indika Karunathilake, President of Sri Lanka Medical Association

Speaker 3: Country experience from a high COVID-19 burden country in WPR

  • Latiffah HassanProfessor in Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology and Coordinator of the Malaysia One Health University Network (MyOHUN).


  • Professor Wendy Reid, Medical Director and Executive Director of Education and Quality of Health Education England


Policy makers, national IMST members, Officials from Ministries of Health, Higher Education and subnational health departments, researchers, health professional education institutions.


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