It is essential that countries build the capacity of their national workforce in the wake of COVID-19 and in seeking to strengthen their health systems to deliver services for existing and emerging health needs. This regional webinar for West African countries is designed to:

  • introduce participants to a new, fit for purpose toolkit to strengthen their national workforce capacity for essential public health functions;
  • invite national health leaders to embark on domestic planning by using the defined methodology with support from over partners present in over 160 countries; and
  • foster learning, collaboration and innovation among countries to strengthen their workforce capacity to address current and future health challenges.

In May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partner organizations launched the National Workforce Capacity for EPHFs Roadmap, which emphasizes three interconnected action areas: defining the essential public health functions, subfunctions and services; strengthening competency-based education oriented to deliver the essential public health functions; and mapping and measuring the diversity of occupations involved in delivering these functions. The toolkit contains reference documents developed for each action area that can be adapted to reflect different contexts, needs and priorities and an operational handbook that guides overall implementation strategy.

Speakers: Steering committee members who led development of the toolkit and national experts from early adopter countries.

Audience: All stakeholders with an interest in strengthening the public health workforce. This may include individuals working in governments, funding organisations, technical partners, academic institutions including schools of public health, national public health institutes and civil society organizations.


  • Welcome and Introduction – Dr James Avoka Asamani, WHO Africa Regional Office
  • Moderator: Dr Sunny Okoroafor, WHO Uganda country office
  • Public health workforce Roadmap handbook overview – Dr Huan Xu, Catherine Kane, WHO Health Workforce Department
  • Defining essential Public health functions – Dr Atiya Mosam, Executive of College of Public Health Medicine of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa
  • Competency-based education – Dr Oladele Ogunseitan, Presidential Chair, Director of Education, University of California, Irvine & One Health Workforce – Next Generation project
  • Mapping and measurement of occupations – Dr Mathieu Boniol, WHO Health Workforce Department
  • Strengthening health emergency workforce capacities – Dr Scott Dowell, WHO Health Emergencies Department
  • Early adopter country experience – TBD
  • Next steps – Lizzie Tecson, WHO Health Workforce Department
  • Question & Answer session


The public health workforce includes all people who contribute to the delivery of at least one of 12 essential public health functions (EPHFs), as part of integrated health system services and functions. This workforce comprises people working in diverse occupations, from health and non-health sectors, and can be conceptually framed as three overlapping groups:

  • core public health personnel who work exclusively on the EPHFs;
  • health and care workers who spend some of their time delivering the EPHFs as part of their clinical or social care roles; and
  • personnel from occupations allied to health who play critical roles in addressing the determinants of health.

Operationalizing the three action areas requires the support of a broad coalition of partners and stakeholders with diverse expertise. This includes collective collaboration and action from governments, funders, technical partners, academic institutions including schools of public health, national public health institutes, and civil society organizations. By working together, these groups can effectively implement the action areas and strengthen the public health workforce.

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