World Health Professions Alliance publishes core competencies
for health consultants
Timely publication fills a quality assurance gap in an emerging big business
Geneva, Switzerland, 13 November
2007–A new publication released today from the global alliance of health professionals, the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), lays out what to expect and call for when hiring an international health consultant. The globalisation of health care has generated tremendous expansion in the field of international health consulting, which now includes a staggering number and variety of specialists. To help contractors and individual consultants find the best fit, the WHPA has developed and published a framework of competencies for international health consultants - A Core Competency Framework for International Health Consultants. The publication is freely available for viewing and downloading via the WHPA website (www.whpa.org) at www.whpa.org/pub2007_IHC.pdf
International health care consulting is becoming big business with an ever- increasing field of health consultants on the market. Faced with a wide range of consultants with varying credentials, experience, competencies and backgrounds, deciding who is qualified can amount to no more than guesswork. At the same time health consultants themselves are seeking frameworks to guide their practice. A Core Competency Framework for International Health Consultants provides a practical guide for those seeking to engage health care consultation services and presents a benchmark against which individuals who wish to offer their services can assess themselves and if necessary seek additional training before taking up assignments.
Health consultants today provide an array of health-related services in their own countries and abroad. It can be difficult for the potential client or contractor to navigate through the varying credentials, experience, competencies and backgrounds. For example, consultants’ expertise may be in financial management, macroeconomics, health services planning and management, public health, epidemiology, human resources development, disease management, governance, standards development, education, primary health care and/or health technology.
Experts may serve as consultants on both a voluntary and employed basis. They may work for large consulting firms or corporations, be independently employed, or be faculty members. They may work for professional associations, religious groups or national and international nongovernmental groups. Their clients are individuals, agencies or organisations involved in planning and/or delivering health care, interested NGOs, advocacy groups, countries, United Nations agencies, global health initiatives or donors, such as governmental agencies, foundations, trusts, corporations, etc.
The complexity of this situation led the WHPA to develop core competencies to guide the individual, client and contractor. The competencies are meant to reflect the abilities common to health consultants whatever their specific discipline and are intended to guide not to prescribe.