Guyana's Ministry of Public Health launches its Interprofessional Education action Plan

On August 14th and 15th, Guyana's Ministry of Public Health, Division of Health Sciences Education held a The National Forum for Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Collaborative Practice (CP) for Healthcare.

The event marked the launch of Guyana's IPE action plan for the next two years.

 In the pursuit of universal health care, the Ministry of Public Health  has been strengthening the competency of its workforce through IPE and CP.

A national consultation is being held to engage health education and other professionals from around the country on this initiative. The event featured health education tutors from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Guyana (UG), organized by Division of Health Sciences Education of Ministry of Public Health and PAHO/WHO.

One activity highlighted in the action plan is a multi-institutional research project.

The project – “Guyana Ministry of Public Health, Division of Health Sciences Education/PAHO - IPE/IPP in Diabetic Care: Developing a tool for the assessment of team collaboration and communication”, will result in the creation of an interprofessional protocol for diabetes care.

In her remarks at the event, Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence said that Interprofessional Education for health is one which can surely advance Guyana’s healthcare sector by raising the bar in healthcare service delivery through collaboration with all sectors.

 “This model approach underscores the fact that health is a multidimensional discipline. It has the potential for greater development and improved health outcomes. With inputs from all the other health professional entities, it emphasizes further that health is not restrictive in structure but can be extended to accommodate essential resources from other disciplines; thereby assisting to raise the quality of patient care in Guyana.”

She added that social determinants of health are becoming a major issue in addressing patients’ cases and noted that the health sector alone cannot produce a holistically healthy person.

PAHO/WHO’s Advisor on Health Systems and Services, Dr. Paul Edwards said this IPE action plan will prove to be important in pulling together and effectively addressing a complex healthcare system. “Once students learn how to work inter-professionally, they are ready to enter the workforce as a member of the collaborative team practice. This is a key step in moving health systems from fragmentation to a position of strength. Inter-professional health care teams understand how to optimize the skills of their members, share case management and provide better health service to patients and the community.”

Other lines of action are also foreseen in Guyana's IPE plan: IPE Faculty Development and initiatives to include IPE in the curriculum of health course programs.

The implementation of Guyana's action plan should be carried out by the Ministry’s Division of Health Sciences. Key stakeholders in this project include the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Guyana (UG) with PAHO / WHO cooperation.

International Consultants, Dr. Jose Rodrigues Freire Filho of PAHO/WHO’s Human Resources Health Unit in Washington DC., and Dr. John Gilbert, Professor of the University of British Colombia and founding Chairperson of the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative Practice will be involved.

The Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of UG, Dr. Emmanuel Cummings and Director of the Ministry of Public Health’s Health Sciences Education Program, Miss Seraiah Validum and IPE Project Coordinator Mr. Wayne Hunt were also in attendance.

 IPE's research team in Guyana has already been formed and, on the second day of the event, members received guidance on the steps necessary to develop an action plan.

The action with the University of Guyana will start next year, as will the other actions of the IPE plan. The country is expected to move forward with  the IPE theme to improve health care.