By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Qatar needs to produce more Qatari health professionals to create an efficient health workforce, Dr Victor Dzau, an official of a US-based medical institute, has said.
“My understanding is that out of 8,000 nurses, only 300 are Qataris,” he noted. He was speaking at the Innovations in Global Medical and Health Education (IGMHE) forum in Doha yesterday.
Dr Dzau also said that majority of Qatar’s health workforce consists of expatriates. The point is, he stressed, is to create a workforce that is sustainable (to have a stronger local capacity).
In his presentation titled “Capacity building for a global health workforce,” he said countries and regions have different needs in developing their healthcare systems.
He reiterated the importance of creating a “right-skilled” and efficient workforce saying health professionals should use their training and skills to maximum potential.
Faced with various health and medical challenges, Dr Dzau said the world is changing rapidly, a reason to change current healthcare systems.
However, he lauded the responses of Qatar citing its creation of a national research fund for grants to develop inter-professional competency (IP), as well as the establishment of Qatar University’s College of Medicine, the Academic Health Centre and the IP Health Council.
Besides bringing Weil Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the country is also trying to make health professions more attractive to students, according to Dr Dzau.
To develop a right-skilled and efficient workforce, he cited the experience of other high income economies like Singapore, where the National University of Singapore (NUS) system curriculum was patterned after Duke School of Medicine.
The NUS exposes medical students and doctors to clinically-related research. Signature research areas include health services and systems research, cancer and stem cell biology, CV and metabolic disorders, emerging infectious diseases, neuroscience and behavioural disorders.
“We have to think about new realisation of other workforce and nursing is a critical part of our profession, said Dr Dzau. “It is educating the whole spectrum in order to increase an efficient workforce.”
He also noted the importance of connecting with the community which is being done by the University of the Philippines in Manila. Students are recruited from underserved communities who nominate scholars.
Dr Dzau said the Philippines requires its fresh health and medical graduates to service the community for a certain period of time. This is because 63% of its graduates leave the country to work abroad.
For an upper middle income economy such as China, volunteers and health professionals undergo training and education to provide chronic disease management education, and intervention physical therapy, among others.
“It is bringing in community health workers into this whole system network to care for the patient,” the health expert added.
“Innovation can be seen in many different levels: from an organisation structure and finance structure model to information curriculum in teaching methods, in leadership development, and recruitment methods and many others,” Dr Dzau pointed out.
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