Belarus: training course develops competencies in person-centred, coordinated and integrated primary health care service delivery


A multidisciplinary training course to strengthen the competencies of health professionals in delivering person-centred health services and in managing and effectively preventing key noncommunicable diseases at the primary care level was conducted in Belarus in October 2017.

By focusing on shared tasks and responsibilities and a more person-centred, coordinated and integrated care, doctors, physician assistants and nurses who attended the training will be better prepared for preventing and managing the most common noncommunicable diseases.

As patient and population needs have become more complex and specialized, health professionals are being pressed to respond more quickly and efficiently while maintaining quality. Primary care epecially faces the challenge of responding to ageing, multimorbidity and increased complexity in ways that support the patients in remaining in their communities and avoiding hospitalization. Stepping up to this challenge involves exploring expanded scopes of practice for health professionals and promoting more interprofessional practice in primary care.

The four-day course therefore focused on developing the participants’ essential knowledge and skills to better respond to these challenges.

Specialists from the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care designed the programme in close collaboration with the WHO Country Office in Belarus and local experts and tailored it to the needs of general practitioners, physician assistants and nurses from two pilot sites in Belarus – Polyclinic No. 39 of Minsk and the polyclinic and rural ambulatories of Gorki Central District Hospital.

Participatory training methods, such as case discussions, role play and problem-solving sessions, enabled participants to model communication with patients and communication and collaboration with each other. During the training, participants identified new roles for physician assistants and nurses in preventing and managing noncommunicable diseases. More specifically, they emphasized their new roles in the motivational counselling of patients with noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors and in providing leadership in addressing the health needs of individuals and families related to noncommunicable diseases through home care.

The preliminary feedback from trainees has been positive. The participants emphasized the value of obtaining new knowledge and skills and the benefits of being supported in expanding their scope to improve patient experiences and health outcomes.

BELMED is an overarching project entitled Preventing Noncommunicable Diseases, Promoting Healthy Lifestyle and Support to Modernization of the Health System in Belarus 2016–2019. It is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ministry of Health of Belarus in collaboration with WHO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).