Problem: In many limited resource countries, medical and nursing school faculties are small and understaffed, contributing to the sparse output of physicians and nurses to support the country's health system. The World Health Organization declared that 37 African nations suffer a "critical shortage" of health practitioners.
Approach: The Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) is a new program that sends U.S. physicians and nurses to serve as faculty at medical and nursing schools in low-resource countries to increase the quantity and quality of graduates, thereby strengthening local health systems. The GHSP is a collaboration between the Peace Corps and Seed Global Health, a private nongovernmental organization, and is supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Outcomes: In July 2013, the GHSP sent 15 physicians and 15 nurses to serve as faculty at 11 schools in Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi. These volunteers will serve for one year, working with their African counterparts teaching and building academic capacity. The program aims to help train more physicians and nurses for patient care, some of whom will become faculty in the future.
Next steps: An evaluation program will track and analyze the impact of the GHSP on the schools, the volunteers, and, over time, the impact on local health care. The authors propose a "sabbatical corps" to enable more U.S. academic medical and nursing faculty to participate in the program through the sponsorship of their home institutions. In future years, the GHSP will expand to more countries and include more health professions.