The need to strengthening nursing education and training in the PICs has been recommended in the Mapping Exercise. This is to enhance and standardize regional training programmes in nursing and identify a key strategic area for action in the Strategic Action Plan for Nursing and Midwifery Development in the Pacific Island Countries. Additionally, the Regional Strategy on Human Resources for Health 2006 – 2015 stresses the need to ensure that the health workforce are responsive to population health needs, provision of quality service and the improvement of health outcomes.
The Pacific Code of Practice and its Compendium was endorsed at the Seventh Meeting of the Ministers of Health for PICs in March 2007 and aims to provide a mechanism that could facilitate recruitment of health workers within PICs with the ‘mutuality of benefits’ for all parties involved. Even though this publication is yet to become a formal publication of WHO, the Code and its Compendium is being distributed as reference material for technical meetings.
The Pacific Opening Learning Health Net (POHLN) initiative launched in 2001 is aimed at meeting the continuing education needs of health professionals in PICs and is an important mechanism for supporting continuing education for health workers in the community. POLHN has been a success according to an external evaluation conducted in 2004 and there is a strong interest among participating countries to contribute to its long term sustainability and a desire for more accredited courses. www.polhn.org
Aside from WHO, many other development partners, donors, institutions, organizations and agencies have been or are planning to support PICs in their efforts to strengthen their health workforce and health system capacities. To enhance the effectiveness of such support, it is essential for the support to be better coordinated as well as aligned to meet the goals and objectives of national HRH programmes, with government taking the leadership role.