The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and Transform Health welcome the inclusion of digital health in the final Declaration of the Health Workforce Conference 2022, held between 07 and 09 February in Nairobi, Kenya.
The education and training needs of the health workforce are critical in delivering quality care and responding to the health needs of the population. Those students coming through the education and training systems at the moment will be the frontline staff delivering healthcare during the decades to come and therefore vital to ensuring governments are able to achieve their universal health coverage commitments. The rapid use and scale up of digital technology across all areas of healthcare along with the increased generation and use of data is throwing up new challenges and opportunities for health workers. To respond to these challenges and seize the opportunities presented by digital technology, students will need to be trained in the use of digital technologies and the management of data as part of a forward looking curriculum aimed at equipping future health workers to operate in a digital age.
Digital health technologies will never substitute the critical role of health professionals, however they can assist them to improve patient outcomes, extend coverage and lower healthcare costs. Health workers must be properly trained in the management and use of digital health technologies and the use of data to improve health outcomes, otherwise these technologies risk becoming an additional burden on frontline staff.
Digital health technologies will never substitute the critical role of health professionals, however they can assist them to improve patient outcomes, extend coverage and lower healthcare costs.
IFMSA and Transform Health commend the leadership of the Kenyan government and its partners in ensuring this issue is prioritised. We look forward to collaborating with the government on the work plan as a follow up to this important event.
Background on the Health Workforce Conference
The aim of this inaugural conference hosted by the Ministries of Health and Education of Kenya along with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council was to allow different stakeholders to share knowledge and experiences on how to harmonise the curriculum and training of health care professionals so as to strengthen the capabilities of health professionals to support Universal Health Coverage.
The conference, aimed at senior-level policy makers from the East Africa Region, is an important contribution to the broader discussions on the interventions and support that are necessary to equip health workers to achieve universal health coverage in a digital age.