ICTs, Capacity Building and Health Institutions

According to the OECD, capacity development is the process whereby people, organizations and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity over time.[1] Capacity building needs to be distinguished from access to information. Guideline, handouts and documentation is considered access to information. Capacity building is understood here in a restrictive definition as online training courses.

Capacity building is particularly crucial for marginalized actors who can benefit greatly from these online services and increase their knowledge about specific issues in order to better participate in global negotiations and policy-making processes. One element must be notified here though. As a general comment, organizations offer much less online capacity building resources than they provided access to information. It seems not to be either the right channel or not the most pressing objective of these organizations. Membership organizations offering services to their members tend to offer more online training courses than others. Most organizations offer one or more online course or e-Learning program. As follows, some specific examples to illustrate the use of ICTs by health institutions to provide online capacity building programs.

The international health institutions examined here comprise of Codex Alimentarius; Gavi; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P.); International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH); International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF); and World Health Organization (WHO).

Codex offers an open e-Learning platform to support the ability of developing countries and countries in transition to participate more effectively in Codex. Many training programmes have been implemented using FAO/WHO training packages to strengthen knowledge of Codex rules and procedures and improve national planning for Codex participation and preparedness of Codex delegations. The online course entitled “Enhancing participation in Codex activities” explains the organization, management and procedures of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and its subsidiary bodies. The course describes the scientific basis for Codex standards provided by the FAO/WHO program on the provision of scientific advice. It also provides guidance on developing national Codex structures and activities in order to enhance effectiveness of all Codex members. [2]

Gavi’s website offers a series of tutorials on various topics for countries, including Applying for new vaccine support; Applying for human papillomavirus vaccine demonstration support; Applying for health system strengthening support; Gavi performance framework; Renewing new vaccine support; Renewing health system strengthening support; and Reporting on Gavi support.[3]

The Global Fund offers as well a series of e-learning courses on its funding process and provides useful information to anyone who wants to know about accessing funding, including applicants, civil society, key populations, Country Coordinating Mechanisms, technical partners, Principal Recipients, national governments, donors and Global Fund staff.[4]

GlobalGAP website offers two e-Learning training courses. The first one entitled “All Farm Base” teaches the different Control Points of the All Farm Base Module. Although this course is designed mainly for inspectors and auditors, it also gives a good overview to producers who are interested in becoming GLOBALG.A.P. certified. The second course entitled “Parallel Production and Parallel Ownership” explains two new important concepts introduced in the GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance Standard Version 4.[5] Auditors and inspectors can access the GLOBALG.A.P. Online Academy that offers a series of online courses. Every course contains learning materials, tutorials and at least one exam.

Together with the APEC Harmonization Center (AHC), ICH has developed an e-Learning program with a goal to expand its provision of various quality training programs online. The first training program is AHC-ICH Online Training Program on ICH E2 Guidelines and the course is open for the pilot period from August 29, 2016 to August 31, 2017. [6]

WHO develops training materials for health professionals and contributes to the preparation of a disability and rehabilitation curriculum for schools of public health, medical schools, and other health-related institutions. Many of these programs are available online. For instance, INCLUDE is an online learning community for community-based rehabilitation (CBR) that aims to inform and support CBR managers and interested stakeholders around the world. It is an online program that guides the user through different information modules based on the Community-based rehabilitation guidelines: health, education, livelihood, social and empowerment.[7] Capacity building online trainings are offered by each WHO program. There is not a global page with all capacity training offers. However, the vast majority of WHO programs offer either an online training or a handout for health practioners and policy makers to work with.

As discussed in this post, ICTs allow some international health institutions to provide capacity building programs. Not all organizations offer such possibility. The examples cited above illustrate how marginalized actors can develop additional capacity remotely and at no cost.

[1] The Challenge of Capacity Development: Working Towards Good Practice (2006) DAC Guidelines and Reference Series, Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, archived from the original (PDF) on 28 April 2013

[2] Codex website : http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/capacity-development/participation-codex/codex-course/en/

[3] Gavi website : http://www.gavi.org/support/process/country-portal/

[4] Global Fund website: http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/elearning/

[5] GlobalGAP website : https://academy.globalgap.org/academy/

[6] ICH website : http://edu.apec-ahc.org

[7] WHO website : http://www.who.int/disabilities/include/en/