About Mary O'Neil

MSH Global Technical Lead for Human Resources for Health

Leaving Recife

We concluded the conference with a round table discussing the agenda for the way forward. There are always good ideas in this discussions.  We hope that they are integrated and make up an actionable roadmap for HRH.

The dilemma of many of the panels has been on where to focus. There is much to support a focus way into the future, which would take into account the rising economic status of many developing countries. This could change the formula considerably. On the other hand, there is an immediate need to train new health workers and the consensus is that the capacity of those institutions responsible for this are inadequate to the task. So, as with any large, global forum, we come away with a broad agenda. We are heartened by the number of calls for strengthening leadership and management in order to manage the health system of the future, which is envisioned as not standing on its own, but operating in partnership with the private sector, which currently provides up to 50% of the health services in many countries.

A summary from the panel, expressed by Tim Evans, of the World Bank can be viewed in 4 components:

  1. anticipate:   we must anticipate what is seen as a rapid expansion and growth of the health sector, along with the use of technology
  2. articulate:   we must articulate ambitious targets.  An example of this is the government commitment in Ethiopia to train 30,000 CHWs.
  3. participate:  not only with the private sector but with all relevant constituencies
  4. innovate:  work smarter and engage the health workers in the process of problem solving and policy settings.

I can see a lot of synergy here with MSH technical strengths.

Mary O’Neil is the MSH Global Technical Lead for Human Resources for Health.