The University of Technology, Sydney has the country's only World Health Organization Collaborating Centre specialising in Nursing, Midwifery and Health.
The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development (WHO CC) recently teamed with health care leaders in the Pacific to develop a dynamic leadership development programme to influence sustainable resourcing, sound planning and effective leadership in health care.
"We have a shortage, nationally and internationally, of well-prepared leaders with the appropriate expertise to lead change and innovation in very complex health care systems," says Head of the WHO CC and Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Professor John Daly.
At the same time there is a global shortage of health workers.
In the most extreme cases, says Daly, developing countries are not able to meet the WHO minimum threshold of 2.5 health workers for every 1000 people. "There are many countries in the world that can't currently meet this. So it's unlikely they'll be able to meet basic health service needs and they will struggle to meet the Millennium Development Goals."
These eight goals, agreed to by all United Nations member states, aim to reduce poverty, hunger, illiteracy, discrimination against women, child mortality, disease and environmental degradation.
They also aim to improve maternal health and global partnership development by 2015.
In 2009, the WHO CC was awarded nearly $500 000 by AusAID - the Australian Government's overseas aid initiative - to deliver the AusAID Leadership Award (ALA) programme; a leadership capacity programme in the South Pacific to strengthen nursing and midwifery.
From March to July, 30 Fellows from 10 countries participated, gaining skills development and exposure to expertise on regional priority areas that would assist them in implementing projects at home. The regional priority areas included education, leadership, regulation, data literacy and pandemic and emergency disaster preparedness.
Before attending, the ALA Fellows worked with their country's chief nurse to isolate a project based on their regional and country priorities. "These were not small projects. They were thought out long and hard by the most senior nurses and midwives in their countries who then worked as mentors with the nurses or midwives from their country.
So they oversaw the project before they came, when they went back, and now to this day," says Michele Rumsey, Director of Operations and Development. A variety of project development tools were developed by the WHO CC team, which included UTS's Professor Denise Dignam.
With a second funding application currently being considered by AusAID, it is hoped to hold the AusAID Leadership Award programme again next year. Adapted from an article by Fiona Livy, first published in U: magazine, July 2010
UTS CRICOS Provider Code: 00099F
Source: David Samuel, Business Development Manager, Austrade-Colombo
Source of photo: R Thor for WHO (99 Bonjour la vie)