•APHNH renews MOU with the National Apprentice & Industrial Training Authority & the Private Health Services Regulatory Council to develop and conduct training programmes for private health sector
•Reiterates the need for more specialized healthcare roles in the private sector and further investment in training and development
8th April 2021: In alignment with this year’s global vision for World Health Day, ‘Building a Fairer, Healthier World’, The Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes (APHNH) reiterated their commitment to empower the healthcare worker, by promoting training and skill development amongst medical staff.
“The pandemic forced us all to appreciate and recognise the role that healthcare workers play in our societies and countries. Now, the challenge is to sustain this recognition and empower the men and women working in the private healthcare sector, which at present is facing tremendous pressures due to the pandemic.
“To truly achieve the objective of World Health Day and commit to building a fairer and healthier world, the first step should be improving the education and training available to private sector health staff. To prepare for the new reality, we have to invest in our workers to ensure the highest standards of private healthcare,” APHNH President Dr. Lakith Peiris remarked.
To this end, APHNH recently renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) and the Private Health Services Regulatory Council (PHSRC) to develop and conduct training programmes for private health sector which include a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 6 for nursing, a gap filling course for nurses aimed at listing them in the PHSRC and a programme to train nursing tutors needed for the sector.
The gap-filling course was introduced for nurses who are unable to follow a three year nursing course to ensure that they have the required skills for employment, and facilitate their recognition following a rigorous NAITA examination.
According to Dr. Peiris, nursing courses are essential to meet the rising demand for private healthcare and the subsequent shortage of nurses and paramedical staff. The ratio of nurses to the population in Sri Lanka stood at approximately two nurses per 1,000 Sri Lankans in 2018, far below the global average of 3.81 nurses per 1000 population (World Health Organization, 2018). According to the WHO, an estimated shortage in nursing professionals between 5000 and 6000 has been projected for the year 2030.
Further, APHNH has also introduced Pharmacy Assistant and Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) training programs into their expanding educational curriculum. The Association has also initiated in-service training for different fields.
“2021 has been designated as the year of the healthcare worker, in recognition of their selfless dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re grateful for our front liners, and our aim for the year ahead is to continue attracting skilled labour – particularly the specialized roles of paramedical staff and medical technicians. To do so, we will continue to promote further investment in the training and development of our healthcare workers,” Dr Peiris concluded.
Established in 1972, the APHNH represents all the country’s private hospitals and nursing homes. Through its representation in the Private Health Services Regulatory Council (PHSRC), APHNH plays an important role in the regulation of the country’s private health sector. Over the recent past, its efforts have also included facilitating skills development among healthcare workers, conducting courses for nurses to enhance their capability and contributing to the upliftment of healthcare standards in the country in various ways.