International cooperation

Introdution to program for Development in the Medical Faculties centers of excellence for human resources for health university based centers to act as resource and transefer points for development

12-04-2008

This new program aims to strengthen the capacity of sufficient Vietnamese medical and scientific staff to provide the technical assistance needed in key skill areas that are now served by international consultants. The program will make Vietnam more self-reliant in in the needed training, coaching and advice to training institutions and health services all over the country, which is not possible at present. There are too few Vietnamese experts now to satisfy the needs of the universities, health system and health programs.

The approach was to identify five key skill areas for medical universities and then find which of the eight medical faculties might be able to develop sufficient capacity to serve as a resource for the development of the other schools in future. The five skill areas selected are medical education, research, management, economic evaluation and e-learning. There is complementarity among the five topics, and coordination and cooperation will ensure that there is no competition for training or materials development, but collaboration to ensure the most efficient production.

With project support, the different faculties will strengthen not only the individual but also the organisational and institutional capacity for better health care in Vietnam. By strengthening capacity in these key areas in the selected faculties, not only will a large pool of human resources for health become available to all training institutions and health programs, but also a large number of teaching and learning materials including those based on information technology that can be available even for those working in remote areas where learning opportunities are few.

In this model, inputs will build on the strengths in each faculty, and contribute to filling gaps and strengthening weak points in other faculties. International inputs are necessary so that the core group can develop the highest possible level of updated knowledge and skills in order to provide the effective assistance needed by the others.

Key issues in the project also include a special attention to the social determinants of health, and not only disease as a topic for study and research. These include aspects like gender, poverty, equity and ethnicity in relation to health problems and solutions. Mental health and other health problems that can be expected to increase as Vietnam continues to develop will also receive more attention than they have in the past.

When this project ends, the eight medical faculties and associated institutions will have a large pool of experienced and well-trained experts in the five areas. They will have developed, piloted and revised many training manuals, textbooks, and teaching and learning materials which will serve all schools and institutions training all types of health professionals.

In addition to the experts and the materials, the program will have established several types of networks that will support the exchange and mutual assistance among the medical schools and other institutions, national and international. They will also provide services to the MoH and provincial and regional health authorities, and to national and international programs that aim to support health as well as development in Vietnam.

Overall, this program will increase the capacity of the health sector in Vietnam to continue to improve and to expand the benefits gained by a sizeable core group to all the provinces and all the schools in the country. Vietnam will be better able to satisfy its own needs for health and development. By linking this program to other programs supported by the embassy and by other international and national sources, the strengthening of health and health care will cover the whole sector and increase sustainability and effectiveness of the improvements.

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