The pandemic made the challenge of training health workers in lower-income countries even harder. To counter the huge impact Covid-19 is having on health systems worldwide, a collaboration between Gavi and The Rockefeller Foundation is improving training programmes across Africa, helping some countries go digital for the first time.

A major barrier to providing health services is a global shortage of healthcare workers. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates this to be 17.4 million worldwide.

There is also chronic under-investment in the education of health workers, says WHO. But the rise in internet access and numbers of mobile phones could offer flexible, less costly alternatives to traditional training. The past decade has already seen a wave of digital health initiatives that range from encouraging compliance with treatment regimens, reminders of health prevention information or online healthcare consultations with doctors.

One of Gavi’s goals is to ensure that blended learning approaches supported by digital technologies are standard practice for health workers in Gavi-supported countries by the end of 2025. Gavi and The Rockefeller Foundation launched a partnership at the end of 2019 to support frontline health workers’ education using these approaches, especially in delivering immunisations services.

“Rockefeller and Gavi share an understanding that strengthening health systems to meet future demands will require innovative ways of working, and this partnership demonstrates the catalytic role that the private sector can play in global health,” says Moz Siddiqui, Head, Private Sector Partnerships and Innovation at Gavi.

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