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Open Access Commentary

The African Health Profession Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives

Carey F McCarthy1* and Patricia L Riley2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Global HIV/AIDS Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, , MS-E41 Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA

2 Senior Technical Advisor Division of Global HIV/AIDS Center for Global Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-E41 Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA

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Human Resources for Health 2012, 10:26  doi:10.1186/1478-4491-10-26

Published: 29 August 2012

Abstract

Background

More than thirty-five sub-Saharan African countries have severe health workforce shortages. Many also struggle with a mismatch between the knowledge and competencies of health professionals and the needs of the populations they serve. Addressing these workforce challenges requires collaboration among health and education stakeholders and reform of health worker regulations. Health professional regulatory bodies, such as nursing and midwifery councils, have the mandate to reform regulations yet often do not have the resources or expertise to do so. In 2011, the United States of America Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a four-year initiative to increase the collaboration among national stakeholders and help strengthen the capacity of health professional regulatory bodies to reform national regulatory frameworks. The initiative is called the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives. This article describes the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives and discusses its importance in implementing and sustaining national, regional, and global workforce initiatives.

Discussion

The African Health Profession Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives convenes leaders responsible for regulation from 14 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa. It provides a high profile, south-to-south collaboration to assist countries in implementing joint approaches to problems affecting the health workforce. Implemented in partnership with Emory University, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the East, Central and Southern African College of Nursing, this initiative also supports four to five countries per year in implementing locally-designed regulation improvement projects. Over time, the African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives will help to increase the regulatory capacity of health professional organizations and ultimately improve regulation and professional standards in this region of Africa. The African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives will measure the progress of country projects and conduct an annual evaluation of the initiative’s regional impact, thereby contributing to the global evidence base of health workforce interventions.

Conclusion

The African Health Regulatory Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives is designed to address priority needs in health workforce development and improve regulation of the health workforce. This model may assist others countries and regions facing similar workforce challenges.

Keywords:
Health workforce; Regulation; Health profession; Human resources for health; Collaborative; Global health; Regional approach; Strengthening; Nursing; Midwifery