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Published in: 06/11/2019

Interprofessional education is the theme of RETS virtual seminar

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Julia Neves - EPSJV/Fiocruz

'Interprofessional education in the training and work of health technicians' was the theme of the 7th Virtual Seminar of the International Network Health Technicians Education (RETS), headquartered at Joaquim Venâncio Polytechnic School of Health (EPSJV/Fiocruz). Held on June 4, the event brought together researchers Marina Peduzzi, from the University of São Paulo (USP), and José Rodrigues Freire Filho, an international consultant on human resources in health at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), via Skype. According to Peduzzi, interprofessional education "happens when students and professionals from a certain area have opportunities for joint learning and shared with students and professionals from other areas, with the purpose of developing collaborative skills and abilities that favor teamwork."

The theme was chosen in November 2018 during the 4th RETS General Meeting. The promotion of discussions on interprofessional education and the work of technicians in primary health care is the third objective of the Regionalized Actions Plan for Latin America (2019-2022), which integrates the work plan of the network. According to Ingrid D'Avilla, researcher at EPSJV/Fiocruz, there has been a proliferation of discussions about the role of interprofessional education in the transformation and advancement of education and the qualification of health professionals, in the challenges of curriculum implementation and in the management models of interprofessional health teams. "Considering not only the relevance of interprofessional education in an international context, but also its incipient relationship with work and the training of health technicians, we proposed to hold this seminar. It was a first initiative to approach RETS with the subject, but soon we will announce new activities", she said.

Old discussion

The theme of interprofessional education, according to Marina Peduzzi, began to be treated by researchers from around the world since the 1970s. In Brazil, however, the most systematized discussion is recent. "The process of building SUS is based on inter and multiprofessional work and on the change in the training of these health professionals. It is not possible to think about interprofessional education without thinking about interprofessional work. And it is not possible to think about collaborative and team work without interprofessional education. All this is extremely related", she said.

Marina says that there is indeed a growing trend towards interprofessional work due to the complexity of what is recognized as health needs, the equipment involved in the provision of services and the organization of the health system. Because of SUS complexity, she emphasizes that it tends to be interprofessional. "It should be interprofessional, but mostly it's still not. The dominant models of service and training are still uni and multiprofessional”, she said.

For her, the technicians challenges in education and interprofessional work are the existence of a hierarchy and inequalities between the professions, but also the need to think about a training that develops skills to work together with professionals from other areas. "Although all the work is needed, they have a very different social value. We have to think of ways of overcoming these hierarchical relationships, including the work process. If not, we will continue to reproduce professionals who only know how to work with others from the same area", she said.

Interprofissional education at PAHO

José Rodrigues states that, in 2016, PAHO/WHO chose the theme of interprofessional education as a priority to support its countries of the Americas in human resources policies in health. "It's a recent approach, quite innovative. This concept was taken up in a first regional technical meeting, held in Bogota, Colombia. At the occasion, 16 countries discussed the benefits and potential of interprofessional education for the education of the health professions, elaborating the document 'Interprofessional education in health care'", he said, adding that the following year, PAHO published another document - 'Human resources strategy for universal access to health and universal health coverage' - which showed the importance of the formation of interprofessional teams in health care networks to improve care.

In the same year, PAHO presented the guidelines for the creation of a Regional Interprofessional Education Network of the Americas (Reip) during the 2nd Regional Meeting held in Brasilia with 27 countries in the Americas: "The event was important because it intensified the implementation of interprofessional education at the health human resources policies in the Americas. Reip was formalized at this meeting, with the Executive Secretariat being under the responsibility of Brazil, Argentina and Chile", explained Rodrigues.

In 2018, the third regional meeting took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On that occasion, 18 countries in the Americas, including Brazil, Uruguay, Cuba and Costa Rica, presented their action plans. Nowadays, PAHO is discussing new strategic actions, such as teacher education and the expansion of the theme in the education of health technicians and in other areas.

In the evaluation of Rodrigues, one of the greatest challenges is precisely to think the interprofessional education in the training and work of health technicians, whether in the formulation of public policies, regulations, curricula, courses, methodologies or in the educational technologies for that level training. "This may be innovative on the world stage, given that the discussion is still very focused on undergraduate and graduate levels", he said.

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