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2009: The contribution of health professions to primary health care and the global health agenda supported by WHO/RHR/IBP Secretariat and WHO Department of Human Resources for Health

Over 60 representatives from a broad spectrum of international health associations and professional bodies including the International Council of Nurses, (ICN) the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and four WHO regional collaborating centers joined the meeting. This meeting provided a forum that enabled a wide range of health professions to network and exchange information on global health challenges, such as reproductive health and gender based violence. The purpose was to identify synergies and work collaboratively across professional boundaries and conventions to support a primary health care approach to reducing health inequities and improving the health of populations. 

Participants supported the launching on the Knowledge Gateway of a virtual Health Professionals' Global Network in order to continue the dialogue started during this global consultation. Discussions on the virtual network are now under-way to define and plan specific activities.

In 2010 the virtual Global Health Professions Network (www.hpgn.org) was launched on the IBP Knowledge Gateway supported by a steering committee of 18 associations of health professionals. The inaugural discussion of the HPGN, held in February 2010, reached over 1000 participants from 124 countries, and focused on how inter-professional education and collaboration can improve the quality of care provided at the primary level, particularly to women and children. 

To follow up key issues raised during discussion, the Steering Committee convened a 10-country video conference and two additional discussion forums that reached over 3,500 participants. Issues discussed were not exclusively focused on reproductive health, rather they focused more broadly on strengthening the health system, provider performance, inter-professional education and levels of collaboration that affect the quality of services at the primary care level, particularly for women and their children.

In 2011 this network continues to grow reaching over 4000 participants and is supported by members of the Steering Committee who take it in turns to share and discuss the work of each of their professional associations with members of the network. Members have also been invited to contribute to other virtual discussions, such as the type of technical guidance needed to improve maternal health care. 

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