Today, April 7th, is World Health Day. A global health awareness day celebrated every year, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as other related organisations. The Assembly decided to celebrate the 7th of April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. Looking after the World's health is a massive undertaking, as the WHO has fully embraced the concept of collaboration. Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centres in over 80 Member States working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies. WHO collaborating centres are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organization's programs?
It is not only at a government/country level that collaboration is essential for health, but interprofessional collaboration is needed to deliver on the ground support and the last 2 years of the pandemic has shown that this not always happening. The WHO defines Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare as "multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care". However, we have seen in recent years that often poor communication, siloed thinking, lack of data sharing and fear of 'speaking out' frequently hinder the delivery of optimal health care.
The WHO Lists the following benefits of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare:
Improve patient care and outcomes
Reduce medical errors
Start treatment faster
Reduce inefficiencies and healthcare costs
Improve staff relationships and job satisfaction
It is not difficult to see where all these fit in the ICW's 8-steps approach, and here at the ICW we have begun to connect with varying health care organisations to offer support and possibilities of working together.
The latest iteration of the NHS long-term plan has introduced the concept of Provider Collaboratives which "will help meet our health and social care challenges as part of new NHS thinking enabled by legislation and accelerated by COVID". There is also acknowledgment that there is no one-size-fits-all model, but successful collaborations follow good governance guiding principles, which must be a great starting place for the ICW. Since the pandemic broke, one group of healthcare professionals has been at the forefront of delivering healthcare, vaccinations and treatments, and that is the community pharmacists. They stayed open and were often the only source of healthcare in many localities. The International Pharmacist Federation (FIP) is an umbrella organisation that supports pharmacists around the World, and the ICW has made contact with a view to working together and developing joint collaboration plans.