Higher education institution partnership to strengthen the health care workforce in Afghanistan

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International Journal of Higher Education


Despite ongoing insecurity, Afghanistan has demonstrated improvement in health outcomes. Reasons for this success include a strategic public-private health service delivery model and investment in Afghan health care workforce development. Afghan universities have the primary responsibility for ensuring that an adequate health care workforce is available to private and public health care delivery settings. Most entry-level health care providers working in Afghanistan are educated within the country. However, university constraints, including faculty shortages and limited access to professional development, have affected both the flow of the health care workforce pipeline and the skill levels and competencies of those who do enter the workforce. Aware of these constraints and workforce needs, the administration at Kabul University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), working in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, prioritized investment in strengthening technical and academic capabilities within four faculties (anesthesiology, dentistry, medical laboratory technology, and midwifery). KUMS partnered with the University of Minnesota in 2017 with United States Agency for International Development support through the University Support and Workforce Development Program. Together they established a unique training-of-trainers (TOT) faculty development program to improve faculty knowledge and skills specific to their technical expertise, as well as knowledge and skills in instructional design and research methods. In this article, we describe the successes and challenges associated with partnership development, implementation, and sustainability.

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