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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Health workforce in the SEE region: the foundation to achieving universal coverage nwith health services, health improvements and economic development


South-eastern Europe Health Network discusses health workforce issues, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 10-11 November 2014


 

The workshop “Health workforce from challenges to solutions. Shaping the agenda for action in the South-Eastern Europe Health Network countries is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health of Slovenia and co-sponsored by the Technical Programme on Human Resources for Health (HRH) at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.

 

The participants of the SEEHN workshop share country experiences and lessons learnt in addressing health workforce challenges in Europe with a focus on health workforce mobility; the start a discussion aimed at developing a SEE Health Network strategy and an action plan on strengthening human resources for health (2014-2020) in line with the SEEHN Decision and the SEE 2020 Strategy; and promote and scale up technical collaboration and knowledge exchange on human resources for health within SEEHN countries and relevant partners.

 

A sustainable and well-performing health workforce is the backbone of an effective health system. The need to address health workforce challenges in countries and introduce mechanisms to improve and promote relevant health workforce policies is well recognized and stands high on the political agenda of all South-Eastern Europe Health Network Member States.


A commitment to the health workforce development was reaffirmed by several SEE Ministerial forums. In 2013, the SEEHN Regional Health Development Center on human resources for health (SEEHN Health Workforce Observatory) was established, hosted by the Republic of Moldova. Accordingly, strengthening human resources for health has been identified as one of the key strategic actions of the health dimension in the Inclusive Growth Pillar of the recently approved SEE 2020 Strategy “Jobs and Prosperity in the European Perspective.”


In the past few years, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission TAIEX Programme organized and convened a number of technical meetings for policy makers and researchers from SEEHN countries to contribute to the evidence on health workforce in the region, to facilitate exchange of information and experiences gained in countries, and to strengthen national capacity in addressing health workforce challenges.


In November 2014, the SEEHN Regional Health Development Center on HRH, in collaboration with and under the technical guidance of the WHO Regional Office for Europe and with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, is organizing a workshop for national focal points on HRH, policy-makers and researchers dealing with health workforce issues.

 

The workshop stocks recent evidence on effective health workforce strategies in order to increase technical capacity in SEE Health Network countries and to strategize their collaborative efforts to support effective and sustainable health workforce development in the SEE region.




 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Multi-country Workshop on Development of Accreditation Standards for Maternity Wards and Neonatal Departments, Belgrade, Serbia, September 2014


Workshop on Development of Accreditation Standards for Maternity Wards and Neonatal Departments was organized in partnership with UNICEF, SEE HN RHDC on Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement, Serbia on behalf of SEEHN and Ministry of Health, Republic of Serbia, on 15-16 September 2014, in Belgrade.
 
The overall aim of the workshop was to define strategic directions for development and implementation of accreditation standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care for countries in the region based on the overview of existing practices and challenges in delivery of high quality and safety services in this field .
 Specific objectives were to:
  1. Familiarize with Accreditation program (using ISQua principles), WHO/UNICEF and other key international concepts, guidelines, tools for continuous quality improvement of maternal and newborn health care
  2. Exchange regional experiences, achievements, challenges, lessons learnt and identify regional resources and opportunities for future inter-country support and collaboration
  3. Develop key recommendations for development of accreditation standards and quality improvement processes for SEEHN countries, respecting the country needs
  4. Define Decision for SEEHN countries on development and implementation of accreditation standards  - for advocacy purposes
The overall conclusion of the two day workshop is that it is necessary to develop sustainable models of continuous quality improvementin the field of maternal and newborn healthcare, and that these models need to be institutionalized within national systems for healthcare quality improvement of each member country of SEEHN (inspection, licencing, certification or accreditation program, etc.).
Although progress has been made, in most of the countries indicators on perinatal and infant mortality are still calling for more systematic action in order to come closer to EU avarage. In addition to some structural and access shortfalls and continues requirement for innovativation in clinical pratice, it has been demonstrated that maternal and newborn care in the SEEHN countries is lagging behind in implementing standards of respectful care and concept of family centerred or baby/mother freindly care. With the exception of Croatia, results of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives in most of the countries have deteriorated and were not proven sustainable and properly evaluated/assessed.In this respect it is necessary to undertake steps towards integrating these concepts into ongoing national quality improvement mechanisms.
It was agreed that accreditation is a great tool for assuring CQI of maternal and newborn healthcare. Integration of family centered, baby/mother friendly care including ’10 steps for successfulbreast-feeding’ into accreditation standards for maternity wards and neonatal departments will be crucial for achieving this goal.
 
RECOMMENDATIONS
 
1.      Each member country of SEEHN should create its own set of quality and safety standards/accreditation standards for maternity wards and neonatal departments (including NICU), within existing national system for health care quality assurance/improvement.
2.      Each member country of SEEHN shouldincorporate WHO/UNICEF baby/mother friendly principles including ‘10 steps for successful breast feeding’and Code for marketing breast-milk substitutes into set of accreditation standards for maternity wards and neonatal departments (including NICU), either as a separate set of standards or preferably incorporated into service based standards.
3.      Accreditation standards must contain not only clinical aspect of healthcare, but also patient safety requirements; infection control, medical waste management; system for adverse events reporting; system for disasters and emergencies; sterilization, etc.;as well asto respect structure, process and outcome aspects of healthcare;
4.      There should be established system for regular assessment/evaluation of provided mother and newborn healthcare. The evaluation of the quality of care provided to woman and to babies should not be separated.Assessment of users’ views is crucial component of it as it supports evaluating holistic, culturally appropriate and rights based care. If accreditation program is not applicable, than it is necessary to establish other mechanism for healthcare quality assessment.
5.      Along with accreditation standards, new methodologies and tools available should be promoted and accessible to countries to guide the quality improvement processes e.g. maternal and new-born hospital care quality assessment (WHO tool), maternal and child death audits/near missed cases, confidential enquiry etc. Exchange of good practices and expertise in implementing quality care among the SEEHN countries e.g. quality of care in NICU etc. should also be ensured electronically and/or in person.
6.      It is necessary to have continuum of mother and new-born/child healthcare and in that manner referral system must be well-defined; needed staff, staff education, equipment and all procedures that have to be met during referral.
7.      Besides addressing accreditation standards and mechanisms for quality improvement each country should define and invest in key strategies that would motivate professionals and managers and ensure sustainable change within health system. They should include identification of drivers for change as well as creation of demand for quality services among defined population (families/mothers) through media and other communication channels.
8.      Having in mind importance of mother and childhealthcare for well-being of all people from the region, it is necessary to apply whole-of-government approach in order to achieve desirable results in this field.
9.      Community healthcare has to be involved in adequate education of women during pregnancy and after giving a birth, because lack of information and knowledge about pregnancy, baby care and women and baby and family wellbeing can make long-term consequences on whole family. Support of breast-feeding must be providing firstly in terms of education of pregnant woman, through maternity wards support (skin to skin, exclusive breast-feeding…) and patronage/community nurse support after discharge. Accreditation standards for primary/community health care should also be reviewed to incorporate aspects of family cantered or baby/mother friendly care including ’10 steps to successful breastfeeding’.
10.  This initiative will be governed by RHDC on Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement on Health Care in Belgrade, Serbia in close cooperation with UNICEF Serbia. Interest for organizing separate multi-country workshop dedicated to standards for NICU is to be explored.
Decision on quality and safety of maternal and newborn healthcare was prepared by the RHDC on Accreditation and CQI and was submitted to Plenary Meeting of the member states SEEHN to support these activities.
 
 

The full history of the South-eastern Health Network

The South-eastern Health Network (SEEHN) was established on the 8th April 2001 at its first meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Its founding partners are the Council of Europe and WHO Regional office for Europe in collaboration with the Council of Europe Development Bank in the framework of the Social Cohesion Initiative of the Stability Pact for South East Europe.

To date, the SEEHN is an independent organization of its 10 Member States with its own governing, managerial and technical institutions. It operates as one of the over 60 Regional Initiatives in various sectors of society under the framework, coordination and leadership of the Regional Cooperation Council in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a part of the overall Regional Cooperation process in SEE.

A lot of time has passed since the SEEHN commencement. It is, however, useful to recall of the past looking into the future.

The full history, accomplishments and developments can be followed for those that are interested using the WHO Europe public website where the SEEHN has its own pages:

http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/public-health-services/south-eastern-europe-health-network

In two weeks the SEE Health Network will be launching its new official Website during its 34th Plenary Meeting in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia under the Presidency of the Minister of hEalth of this country.

Thereafter, the life and story of the SEE Health Network could be followed on: www.seehn.org


Forthcoming event: 34th Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network, 19-20 November 2014, Skopje


Background

The Macedonian Presidency of the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) is organizing and hosting the 34th SEEHN Plenary Meeting in Skopje, Macedonia on 19-20 November 2014.

This event will be attended by the national health coordinators of the SEEHN Member States, the partner countries and partner international organizations, directors of the SEEHN Regional Health Development Centers (RHDC) and other key important actors.

The purpose of the meeting will be to follow up on the  SEEHN Ministers’ meeting and to discuss the SEEHN key strategic areas of work for 2014-2020 and beyond in implementing the SEE 2020 Strategy “Jobs and prosperity in an European Perspective” under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the H2020 integration into the SEEHN policies and developments and the outcome of the major developments, activities and challenges during the term of the Macedonian Presidency (SEEHN Presidency Report July - December 2014).

In line with the commitments of the SEEHN Ministers of Health as stipulated in their Banja Luka Pledge, endorsed during their Third Ministerial Forum in 2011, and in their Extraordinary meeting held back to back with the 34th Plenary Meeting, as well as based on the current SEE Regional Cooperation implementation process of the SEE 2020 Strategy, adopted in November 2013 by the Ministries of Economies, the 34th Plenary will deal with some crucial strategic issues:
  1. Discussing and deciding on the future long-term health strategy of the SEEHN, starting from or continuing the objectives, measures and health indicators that are part of the Inclusive Growth pillar of the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy. In addition, the Plenary will discuss the Regional Health programme, as part of the implementation of the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy.
  2. The SEEHN health strategy, to be ready for the forthcoming 4th SEE Ministerial Forum in 2016, will be meant to cover all the SEEHN countries and other strategic partners who will be ready to join this regional effort. This strategy will represent the contribution of the Network to the achievement of the objectives of the WHO Europe Health 2020 Framework Policy and the European Action Plan on Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services.
  3. On the other side, the recognition of health as a contributor to growth, economic development and employment under the Regional Cooperation Process will bring new opportunities for the SEEHN Member States to improve further the health of their populations and to deal with the social determinants of health and inequities in the region;
  4.  Starting a policy dialogue to provide an overview of the regional efforts and cooperation to enhance the intersectoral governance of health in order to achieve inclusive growth;
Additionally, the Plenary will discuss and take important decisions on the following legal, political, technical and business issues of major priority:
  1. Signing Memoranda of Understanding for partnerships with: (I) the UN European Center for Peace and Development in Belgrade (UN ECPD), the SEE Network of Workers´ Health (SEENWH) and the EU Joint Action for Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting (EU JHWPF);
  2. The Macedonian Presidency Report;
  3. Protocol for standard operation in communication within the SEE Health Network;
  4. Approval of the SEEHN Health Regional Action Plan for 2014-2020 and the qualitative and quantitative health indicators for monitoring and evaluating the SEE 2020;
  5. Launching of the new SEEHN official Website;
  6. Outcome(s) of the EC/TAIEX Workshop(s) finalised or undergoing in the second half of 2014;
  7. Endorsing Decisions from various SEE Health Network technical regional events;
  8. SEEHN Secretariat Programme, Administrative and Financial Issues and ongoing activities:
  • Country contributions for the years 2014 and 2015;
  •  Recruitment process for the permanent staff of the Secretariat;
  • SEEHN Secretariat financial report;
  • SEEHN Secretariat financial plan, and
  • Road Map for the SEEHN activities and the SEEHN Calendar of Events in 2015 under the Serbian Presidency of the SEEHN (01 January – 30 June 2015).

Forthcoming event: Extraordinary Meeting of the SEE Ministers of Health, Skopje, 18 November 2014


Background

The year 2014 has been an extremely intensive one for the regional collaboration for health, particularly with regards to the implementation of our Banja Luka Pledge (2011), the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy recently endorsed (22 November 2013) by the SEE Ministers of Economy, and embedding health as separate dimension contributing to the economic development and growth; the EU 2020 Strategy and the WHO Europe Health 2020 Policy Framework (2012) as well as the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services (2012).

Because of the above and in view of the current political, economic, social and health changes that have taken place in the region since the endorsement of the SEE Health Network Memorandum of Understanding in 2008, it is of utmost importance that this Ministerial meeting is conducted accordingly in order to provide for strengthened leadership, managerial and technical opportunities for the Network and the regional cooperation in public health in SEE to develop further.

The purpose of the meeting will be to exchange views, experience and lessons learned with regards to the top common priorities of the SEEHN Member States:
  1. Health reforms and the Whole-of-Government approach  to the implementation of the WHO European Policy Framework for health and wellbeing – Health 2020;
  2. Human resources for health, their mobility and the educational programmes;
  3. Emergencies, preparedness and response in the SEE region.
 The meeting will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our political commitment to the sub-regional collaboration in the SEE, exchange and discuss health reforms in the light of WHO H2020, further extend our collaboration and identify common aims for our countries’ progress in population health and wellbeing toward, also in line with the SEE2020 strategy “Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective”. The meeting will explore the SEEHN potential for development of our human resources in health by introducing a scheme of HRH mobility in the SEE targeted at education and training. The effectiveness of our sub-regional collaboration in promoting and protecting health; responding to health hazards; and preventing diseases and controlling their spreads was recently proven in the collaborative response to the flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria, in our sub-region. Thus, the meeting offers a unique opportunity to discuss crises coordination aid and establish a task force for this purpose.

The participation of WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr ZsuzsannaJakab as an honoured guest and representative of WHO, at this very important meeting, is in line with the continuous support of the WHO as a key partner in the process of Network establishing, development and functioning, as well as in line with our common Health 2020 goals of improving the health and well-being of populations, reducing health inequalities and strengthening public health.

The specific objectives of the meeting are:
  • To express political commitment to the sub-regional collaboration in public health in the SEE;
  • To further promote and scale up the political commitment for implementation of the WHO European Policy Framework for health and wellbeing – Health 2020within SEEHN countries within the health reforms of the SEEHN countries;
  • To provide for strengthening human resources for health through educational and training programmes and mobility in the SEEHN region and in implementing the SEEHN Decision on the subject of June 2013, Chisinau, republic of Moldova;
  • To share country experiences and lessons learnt in addressing crisis health preparedness and response in SEEHN region and improve coordination of aid in times of crises.
The expected outcomes of the meeting are:
  • Exchanging views and developing common strategies and approaches towards the implementation of the WHO European Policy Framework for health and wellbeing – Health 2020 in the SEEHN region;
  • Strengthened political commitment in SEEHN countries for intergovernmental and intersectoral collaboration to support effective and sustainable human resources for health, their mobility and the educational programmes;
  • Creating a mechanism, a Task Force, to be put in place to address crisis health preparedness aid in SEEHN region.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Forthcoming events: Next SEE Health network Regional Workshop on Human Resources for Health to take place on 10-11 November 2014 in Ljubljana Slovenia

A sustainable and well-performing health workforce is the backbone of an effective health system. The need to address health workforce challenges in countries and introduce mechanisms to improve and promote relevant health workforce policies is well recognized and stands high on the political agenda of all South-Eastern Europe Health Network Member States.

A commitment to the health workforce development was reaffirmed by several SEE Ministerial forums. In 2013, the SEEHNRegionalHealthDevelopmentCenter on human resources for health (SEEHN Health Workforce Observatory) was established,hosted by the Republic of Moldova. Accordingly, strengthening human resources for health has been identified as one of the key strategic actions of the health dimension in the Inclusive Growth Pillar of the recently approved SEE 2020 Strategy “Jobs and Prosperity in the European Perspective.”

In the past few years, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission TAIEX Programme organized and convened a number of technical meetings for policy makers and researchers from SEEHN countries to contribute to the evidence on health workforce in the region, to facilitate exchange of information and experiences gained in countries, and to strengthen national capacity in addressing health workforce challenges.

In November 2014, the SEEHN Regional Health Development Center on HRH, in collaboration with and under the technical guidance of the WHO Regional Office for Europe and with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, is organizing a workshop for national focal points on HRH, policy-makers and researchers dealing with health workforce issues.

The purpose of the workshop is to take stock of recent evidence on effective health workforce strategies in order to increasetechnical capacity in SEE Health Network countries and to strategize their collaborative efforts to support effective and sustainable health workforce development in the SEE region.

The specific objectives of the workshop are: 
  • To review current progress and challenges in the health workforce development in SEE Health Network countries, including the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice
  • To share country experiences and lessons learnt in addressing health workforce challengesin Europe with a focus on health workforce mobility
  • To start a discussion aimed at developing a SEE Health Network strategy and an action plan on strengthening human resources for health (2014-2020) in line with the SEEHN Decision and the SEE 2020 Strategy
  • To further promote and scale up technical collaboration and knowledge exchange on human resources for health within SEEHN countries and relevant partners.
Expected outcomes:
  • Better understanding of policy mechanisms that may be put in place to address health workforce challenges in SEEHN countries and beyond.
  • Draft outline of a SEE Health Network strategy and action plan on strengthening human resources for health
  • Strengthened political commitment in SEEHN countries for intergovernmental and intersectoral collaboration to support effective and sustainable health workforce development
This workshop is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health of Slovenia and co-sponsored by the Technical Programme on Human Resources for Health (HRH) at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.