UNICEF and WHO to train 200 general practitioners in Yemen to boost quality primary health care under the World Bank-financed Emergency Human Capital Project

14 May 2024

29 April 2024, Sana’a, Yemen – For health systems around the world, especially those in low-income countries like Yemen, providing quality care to communities is a huge challenge. Key factors include health workforce shortages, difficulties for practitioners in keeping pace with the latest guidelines and best practices, lack of attention to health equity, and a lack of awareness of the drivers of patient safety.

Through the Emergency Human Capital Project (EHCP), funded by the World Bank and impelemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WHO are embarking on a joint initiative to tackle these factors.  The quality-of-care training programme will strengthen the quality of services provided at primary care facilities in Yemen.

This training programme will bring together about 200 recently appointed general practitioners (GPs) at primary health care facilities, to provide them with clinical mentorship and hands-on, practical training in key practice areas.

Training programme areas include the fundamentals of quality of care; infection prevention and control; maternal health; newborn health; integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI); Essential Programme on Immunization (EPI); nutrition; noncommunicable diseases; and mental health and clinical mentorship.

The in-depth programme will be delivered over 35 days and will ensure that the GPs have a strong foundation from which to deliver quality care to the communities they serve. The training will be conducted, at the same time, with three cohorts that will convene in Sana’a and two groups in Aden.

The GPs who complete the programme will go on to provide medical services and consultations to communities at health centres, as well as extend their support beyond their designated centres to support community outreach. They will provide clinical mentorship to their colleagues in primary health facilities to ensure health services are delivered in line with national standards. These colleagues will include nutrition nurses, IMCI nurses, midwives, EPI nurses, and others. During these mentorship sessions, the GPs will provide supportive supervision to enhance the technical competencies and skills of their peers in other cadres.

As a next step to ensure skills retention and troubleshoot any practice issues, WHO plans to support doctors from nearby hospitals to provide supportive supervision for their peers in primary health facilities. This will also contribute to strengthen referral processes between the two levels of care.

UNICEF Representative to Yemen, Peter Hawkins explained the significance of this approach: "By investing in the training and support of general practitioners, we are empowering them to deliver quality care to the communities they serve. This comprehensive program in Yemen is not just about improving health outcomes, but also about building a resilient healthcare system that can effectively respond to the needs of the people. Through a successful partnership between UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank, we are committed to ensuring that every individual in Yemen has access to the essential healthcare services they deserve."

WHO Representative in Yemen, Dr Arturo Pesigan reiterated the centrality of primary health care in health systems strengthening: “Strong health care services using primary health care approach are at the heart of the model of care in Yemen as well as WHO’s efforts to attain universal health coverage globally. We are very happy to be taking forward this approach with UNICEF and the World Bank to enhance the quality of these services in Yemen.”

World Bank Yemen Country Manager, Dina Abu-Ghaida, said: “Strengthening the country’s health system is a critical step to preserving and building human capital for the country’s future development. The World Bank has worked with UNICEF and WHO since 2017 to expand the availability and coverage of critical health and nutrition services. Improving the quality of care and building the capacity of health care workers is also essential to ensuring that services are provided to those most in need.”



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Megumi Iizuka
Chief of Communications & Advocacy


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/yemen.

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