S. Labelle1, G. Noppert2

1World Health Organization (SWITZERLAND)
2Columbia University (UNITED STATES)
Background: In light of the global economic crisis it is increasingly important that the resources allocated to address public health activities are used effectively and efficiently. Key to this is the process and practice by which we address human resource development. The World Health Organization aims for countries to be able to access high quality technical assistance (TA) and services based on the actual needs of their tuberculosis (TB) programs1. This TA supports national autonomy in defining and reaching objectives that reflect international standards and policies for TB control and treatment.

At present, countries are requesting support for local capacity in planning, accessing and coordinating TA for their country. This paper aims to show how we are using a human resource development approach to enhance this country capacity within a variety of resource settings in the pubic health sector.

Methods: While human resource development can be done in several different ways, we chose to develop an educational tool to address countries’ need for capacity building specifically in high-burden TB countries. The educational tool that we developed draws extensively from the systematic approach for human resource development modeled by both the National Cancer Institute2 and U.S. Centers for Disease Control3. It is a two part series consisting of an education module and a training module. The education module aims to convey to the country the knowledge needed to plan, access and coordinate high quality technical assistance. The training module offers practical training on how to use the available tools for achieving this. It includes real-time modeling by the facilitator, guided practice with feedback for the participant and practical scenarios for evaluation of learning. Since high-burden TB countries are linked to low-economic settings with limited human resources we modified the educational tool to be effectively delivered in many contexts.

We chose three countries to pilot test the tool and made modifications based on this feedback.

Results: While complete roll-out of the educational tool for an initial 10 priority countries is set for October 2011, initial pilot testing suggests that the strategy will be both effective in achieving its intended outcomes and well-received by its intended audiences. The aim is to implement the educational tool in all 22 high-burden TB countries in the next 2 years. Already we have seen an increased efficiency in the utilization of online planning tools leading to a greater number of comprehensive TA plans resulting in better access to high quality TA. Additional results will be presented.

Discussion: Our expected outcomes from the development and launch of the educational tool are two fold. One is the building of capacity for planning, accessing and coordinating high quality TA and the other is to increase the motivation of countries to do this. Our goal is that providing intensive training and support to countries will not only lead to enhanced knowledge and skills, but the empowerment of the country to own the process of planning, accessing and coordinating high quality technical assistance based on the actual needs of the country.

1. The Global Plan to STOP TB 2011-2015. Geneva2010.
2. Pink Book--Making Health Communication Programs Work: National Cancer Institute; 2011.
3. TB Education & Training Self-Study Modules on Tuberculosis 2011, 2011.