Training the public health workforce we need. Exploring perceptions for future public heath workers in Ecuador
Espinosa, Juan Mateo
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This thesis explores how stakeholders in academia, central and peripheral health departments envision the training, characteristics, and competences of the public health workforce in Ecuador. Open ended, semi structured interviews with purposive sampling of informants in key positions in universities, research institutions, and government agencies were carried out in 2015. Content analysis was done to identify relevant themes on the research topic. There is a consensus of a general need for a diverse range of public health professionals. There has been a longstanding detachment between the needs of the system and the professional profiles being produced by academic institutions. The state is the main employer of the public workforce and should thus have a greater influence on determining the graduates' competencies. Two contrasting perspectives of the desired characteristics of public health professionals were evident. One sees the need for technical, focused and practical practitioners. The other desires a more comprehensive, broad-viewed but locally aware or culturally competent professional. A shift is required to align programs with the needs of the country. The state, through the Ministry of Health and higher education governing agencies, should become more involved in the training of a motivated public health workforce. There is a need for the public health professional to be the coordinator of the forces or determinants impacting health with adequate skills to transform comprehensive knowledge into relevant impact on collective health.
- Global health