Ensuring the quality of the professional health workforce is acritical component of any plan that is designed to improve healthcare quality. In PNG, improving the capacity and capability of nurses and community health workers (CHW) is of particular importance. Comprising72% of the country’s professional health workforce (WHO 2020), nurses and CHWs are integral to PNG’s key health priority and health security response efforts, especially in rural and remote contexts. The existing curricula for these health workers, however, are no longer fit-for-purpose. Developed in the late 1990s and finalised in 2002, they are not currently in line with the National Department of Health (NDoH) National Health Plan 2021-2030, nor with current educational and clinical best practice.

To best support PNG’s health workforce in meeting the country’s current and future health needs, WHOCC UTS has been working in close partnership with the NDoH, CHW and Nursing Institutes, and other key national and regional stakeholders to review, develop, and implement up-to-date and evidence-based curricula for Nurses and CHWs. The program has been funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

2022 was a year of significant milestones for the program. Building

WHO CC UTS’ Gap Analysis and the NDOH’s Baseline Survey which assessed the effectiveness of the current curricula, two significant curricula review workshops were held. The purpose of these workshops was:

• To facilitate meaningful collaboration amongst, ensure input from, and build the capacity of key stakeholders involved in the project.

• To evaluate existing teaching and learning processes and consider up-to-date, evidence-based amendments which would best support students and graduates.

• To ensure that the proposed revisions were assessed, integrated, and ratified in a timely, effective, and efficient manner.

• To forward plan for curricula accreditation, implementation, and delivery; educator capacity-building; and other associated program deliverables.

The first workshop, held in Port Moresby between 22-27 May 2022and coordinated by facilitators from WHO CC UTS and the NDoH, was recognised as an extremely important event: it marked the first time that nursing and CHW institutes, educators, regulators, health policy advisors and clinicians had come together to discuss the curricula review and development program. Participants were guided through

a series of interactive seminars on reviewing, designing, and writing up subjects and assessments; on teaching and learning processes; on identifying clinical skills for inclusion in the revised curricula, and on identifying ongoing professional development needs.

A second workshop was held between the 25th-28th October 2022in East Boroko, NCD. The purpose of this workshop was to agree on the final drafts of the two curricula. It involved several interactive seminars, discussions, and presentations on developing effective curricula, subject writing, assessment, evaluating clinical competency, and more.

Building on the successes of the two workshops, the final drafts of the curricula have been developed. They are being circulated for feedback by the principles of PNG’s nursing and CHW institutes and the National Steering Committee. Once approved, they will be submitted for accreditation and review by PNG’s key regulatory bodies in early 2023and prepared for implementation.

For more information on the National Curriculums Revision and Implementation Program, please click here.