TEPHINET Contributes to Key Technical Meetings on Pandemic Readiness and Strengthening Public Health and Emergency Response Workforce
TEPHINET’s Director of Strategic and Technical Initiatives,George Shakarishvili, recently attended the G7 Technical Meeting on the Public Health Emergency Workforce for Predictable Rapid Response in Berlin, and the Public Health & Emergency Workforce Roadmap Steering Committee Meeting in Geneva.
The G7 meeting, which took place from October 14-15, was one of two technical meetings aimed at developing a roadmap for future action on and implementation of the G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness. The Pact, which was agreed upon during the G7 Health Ministers’ Communique in May 2022, is a coordinated approach to strengthening and aligning efforts for global pandemic readiness that focuses on two key areas–Collaborative Surveillance and Predictable Rapid Response.
As the global network of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) and a key player in global health workforce capacity building, TEPHINET’s work is directly tied to developing workforces for pandemic readiness, including improving predictable rapid responses capabilities.
“[TEPHINET’s] programs play a crucial role in scaling up qualified health workers,” Shakarishvili said. “The G7 wanted to discuss priorities for the health workforce and pandemic preparedness, and obviously field epidemiology is a part of it so they invited [TEPHINET] to provide technical input into discussions.”
The Public Health Emergency Workforce for Predictable Rapid Response meeting focused on discussing actions for how to better support national, regional and international outbreak response structures as well as strengthen the Public Health Emergency Workforce. Part of the discussion also focused on the One Health workforce, which brings together human, animal, and environmental health.
All G7 countries were present at the Technical Meeting and were represented by their respective ministries of health or other national agents, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or National Public Health Institutes (NPHI). Other key organizations in attendance included the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
As of now, the attendees of the meeting are awaiting decisions from the G7 countries on what recommendations regarding health workforce development will be prioritized in 2023.
The Public Health & Emergency Workforce Roadmap Steering Committee Meeting was organized and hosted by the health workforce department of the WHO in Geneva the following week. The meeting was held to discuss the roadmap for national workforce capacity to implement the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF), including a focus on emergency preparedness and response. Developed by WHO, with support from TEPHINET and other partners, the EPHF framework is a key element of the roadmap. TEPHINET is a member of the steering committee to implement this framework and the roadmap that comes with it.
During the meeting, TEPHINET and attendees discussed ongoing mapping and measurement of health workforces in up to 10 pilot countries against the EPHF framework to identify gaps in workforce development. Attendees also discussed how to secure sustainable funding for future expansion of EPHF roadmap implementation. Shakarishvili and other committee members hope to scale up the project to eventually encompass all countries and standardize what health workforces should look like.