• Feature Article
    Health Professionals Global Network – http://hpgn.org
    Vol. 17 Issue 1
    In June 2009 ICDA was invited to participate in a workshop hosted by the WHO Department of Human Resources for Health entitled “Global consultation: The contribution of health professions to primary health care and the global health agenda”.

    The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for a broad spectrum of health professions to network, discuss global health challenges and identify synergies to foster collaborative efforts and work across professional boundaries and conventions to support a primary health care (PHC) approach to reducing health inequalities and improving the health of populations. Forty six organisations were represented along with eighteen WHO speakers and facilitators. The organisations included: Medical, nursing, AHP professions, pharmacy, dental; Specialist organisations representing paediatrics, obstetrics, respiratory, mental health, aging, occupational health, environmental health, public health, family therapy; International Alliance of Patients Organisations; Medical law; Interprofessional education and collaborative practice; and WHO Collaborating Centres.

    A series of presentations provided the background and rationale for this initiative, which was within the context of the WHO report 2008: Primary Health Care: Now More Than Ever. Other documents quoted in the presentations which provided drivers for the initiative were the Millennium Development Goals 2000; Commission on the Social Determinants of Health; and the Kampala Declaration 2008 produced by the Global Health Workforce Alliance hosted by WHO.

    A Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice was launched at the meeting. This sets out the elements that need to be put into place to produce people who are ready for collaborative practice, not needing to be trained to work in that way.

    Much of the meeting was participating in World CafĂ© round table discussions aimed at producing recommendations for a “Framework for action: the contribution of health professions to primary health care and the global health agenda” encompassing: what needs to be put in place to support multi-professional collaboration; what realistic ways can health professionals work together across conventional boundaries; and what should be done to foster interprofessional collaboration. 

    The final purpose of the meeting was to continue the dialogue and collaboration by creating a virtual community: the Health Professionals Global Network (HPGN) using knowledge networking. In the library of the virtual community are the PowerPoint presentations and materials prepared for the meeting.

    The first activity of HPGN arising from the workshop has been a virtual Global Discussion Forum on Interprofessional Collaboration in Education and Practice. This ran from the 1st – 12th February 2010 and attracted over 1000 people interested in following the discussion, from more than 100 countries. In total there were 282 contributions from 44 countries. The whole discussion forum will be summarised and the key issues, experiences and conclusions reached will be highlighted and these will be used in the future to inform policy and practice dialogue. 

    The next discussion forum starts on 1st March and it will be addressing Patient Safety. 

    This network is open to any interested health professional, so please register and contribute to or follow future discussions which are relevant to dietitians worldwide.

    Carole Middleton
    ICDA Director, British Dietetic Association Representative