New declaration of faculties and schools of medicine seeks to transform training of health personnel

Washington, DC, 22 April, 2019 (PAHO/WHO)- Pan American Schools and Faculties of Medicine signed a statement that proposes guidelines on how to transform workforce training to improve health care and respond to health systems needs based on primary health care.

The Pan American Federation of Faculties and Schools of Medicine (known in Spanish as FEPAFEM) presented the declaration during the XXI Pan American Meeting on Medical Education as part of the Global Meeting on Medical Education, held from March 24 to 26, in Cartagena, Colombia, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Colombian Association of Medical Schools (known in Spanish as ASCOFAME).

The document, named Cartagena Declaration, states that primary health care must be the foundation of health systems, for which faculties and schools of medicine must commit to their social mission to contribute to the construction of accessible and quality health systems.

"The Cartagena Declaration is important for the Region because it responds to the Strategy on Human Resources for Universal Health that advocates for the transformation of professional health education to include the principles of social mission and to align human resources training with current and future health systems needs," said Fernando Menezes, Chief of the Human Resources for Health Unit at PAHO.

The Declaration indicates that educational institutions should promote dynamic and high-quality training processes guided by competencies, and that health professionals should be trained in interprofessional health teams. It highlights the need to update professionals’ competencies and integrate them into new models of care and teamwork. Also, it urges faculties and schools of medicines to implement new generalist graduate programs, even if they do not correspond to traditional specializations.

In this regard, the Cartagena Declaration responds to the Plan of Action on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage 2018-2023, agreed by the health authorities of the Region, which marks the path for the countries to have the human resources they need in order to meet the worldwide goal of universal health by 2030. The plan proposes to reach agreements with the education sector to train professionals in accordance with the needs of the health systems and calls for development of training plans for priority specialties, including increases in the number of specialists assigned to family and community health.

The Declaration calls for incorporating young people from vulnerable sectors into professional training and generating academic and economic support that allows them to achieve high levels of performance and promote social commitment in their communities of origin.

The Pan American Health Organization assisted the development of the Declaration and participated in the Global Meeting on Medical Education with the conference "Human Resources for Universal Health: Transforming the education of health professions" presented by José Francisco García Gutiérrez, Regional Advisor of Human Resources for Health.

During the global meeting, topics such as the strengthening of competencies in primary health care, curricular modernization of health programs, and humanization in professional training were also discussed.

Durante el congreso se trataron también temas como el fortalecimiento de las competencias en la atención primaria en salud, la modernización curricular de los programas de salud, la humanización en la formación del profesional y los procesos de calidad en la educación médica bajo estándares internacionales.

Link to the Cartagena Declaration

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