The World Health Organization (WHO), looking to create strategies to benefit primary health care (PHC) systems globally, turned to Bloomberg Nursing for their nursing and midwifery perspective, and strong international partnerships to gather information on collaborative practice (CP) and interprofessional education (IPE). Building on WHO’s Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (2010),Global Affairs Director Freida Chavez examined how the Framework could work using a sample of primary health care settings in a variety of resource and geographical contexts. The results are detailed in six case studies recently released on Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in Primary Health Care: Nursing and Midwifery Perspectives.
“These case studies support the growing evidence that this style of collaborative health care delivery and interprofessional education offer real advantages,” says Chavez, the lead author of the project. “For example, one thing that stood out to me is seeing how when CP and IPE are supported, like Brazil has done by establishing Family Health Teams, this really increases the impact of primary health care in the community.”
This project, created and implemented by the WHO’s Technical Officer, Human Resources for Health (Nursing and Midwifery), Annette Mwansa Nkowane, gathered information from areas in Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa and the United States of America to illustrate how health care professionals work together, and how that collaborative practice contributes to PHC. This diversity in culture, resources, geography and a broad range of contexts and stakeholders demonstrated barriers and facilitators to IPE and CP.
Health system reforms based on the principles of PHC are a major challenge for policy-makers, health workers and leaders across the globe. The case studies provided findings that are consistent with the growing body of literature on this topic and on how interprofessional education and collaborative practice can successfully progress.
“Working with the WHO to provide a contextual nursing perspective to their overall framework is an absolute honour,” says Chavez. “This was a snapshot of the growing importance of IPE and CP to contribute to successful primary health care and does necessitate further research. I do think think we are moving in a the right direction of addressessing the importance of context when strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes .”