JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. successfully implemented the Together for Health for the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2005 to 2011. For further information on project activites, visit the TfH page on jsi.com.
USAID Supports New Ways of Learning for New Heath Care Standards
Professor Marc Mitchell engages training participants at the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education.
August 2010 - Over the last few decades, following the demise of the Soviet Union, Ukraine's health care system has undergone considerable changes. There has been a gradual transition of power from central to local initiatives, and standards for diagnosing and treating diseases are being implemented. Ukraine has ambitious plans to bring the quality of its health care services on par with those in the leading countries of the world. All of this requires a new way of thinking about health care organization and management.
The USAID Together for Health (TfH) project is "helping to take managers of family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) programs from the Soviet approach of "managing by order' to one that focuses on the individual and his/her health," explains Asta-Maria Kenney, TfH Project Director. In order to facilitate this change, TfH worked with its key partners, the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the National Medical Academy for Postgraduate Education (NMAPE) to develop an FP/RH service management training.
In 2007, USAID/TfH invited HSPH Professor Marc Mitchell to conduct a seminar on modern teaching methods. More than 20 teachers from NMAPE and other leading Ukrainian higher educational establishments participated. Professor Mitchell introduced the use of case studies as teaching tools, which although a new learning tool for participants, were immediately embraced. Case studies allow learners to react to some of the endless variables that come up in everyday management. Participants must analyze each situation, decide how to respond, and explain why those actions make sense in the situation described in the exercise.
However, it wasn't enough to simply expand a ready-made course because it was critical that the material be relevant to participants. Six participating teachers were selected to write case studies for the course. "We needed to adapt the course to the realities and needs of health care management in Ukraine, so we created cases based on the participants' actual experiences. It made no difference whether that was an oblast, regional, or village health facility," said Bohdan Pidverbetsky, TfH Policy Advisor.
An exciting result of this collaboration was the publication of a training manual entitled "New Approaches to Teaching Management in Healthcare." A joint effort between TfH, HSPH, and National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education staff, under the leadership of Chancellor Yuriy Voronenko, the text was piloted and well-received in trainings in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the Ministry of Health approved "New Approaches" as a textbook for health care manager refresher courses.
Senior NMAPE faculty members conducted a six-day course for 23 head doctors and their ob-gyn deputies from AR Crimea and Sevastopol City, and two representatives of the Crimean MOH. Training participants found the new material and methods helpful and exciting. Edhara Lohvinova, Deputy Head Doctor at the Bilohyrska Rayon Hospital, said "Especially valuable was communication with colleagues about topics that are for us actual and burning. So much of what we learned will be useful for me not only at work, but also in life."
Participants also appreciated the practical and local approach to the seminar. "This training drew on actual Ukrainian experience, and had teachers with practical experience and strong academic backgrounds. This training is formally accredited by one of the most respected institutions and gave us the opportunity to discuss issues with lecturers and trainers familiar with the Ukrainian health care system," said Hennadiy Baklanov, Deputy Head Doctor in polyclinic work at the Kerch Hospital #3. "I think it would be good if such trainings took place more often and addressed as many issues as possible."
As a significant number of health care managers take refresher courses and get recertified by NMAPE every five years, the material taught in this course will figure prominently into health care programs for many years to come.
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