The WHO fellowship programme serves as a tool to support Member States to scale up the production of health personnel to overcome critical challenges in human resources for health. It encompasses a range of specially tailored training modalities of determined duration for individuals and groups in the fulfillment of specific learning objectives, corresponding to approved health and health-related plans, policies and priorities. Such training may be of short or long duration and may take place in an appropriate training institution or the field inside or outside the fellow's home country.
The existing policy guidelines of the WHO fellowship programme define the roles of the four main parties involved in order to ensure the successful outcome of each fellowship that is awarded.
For the sending government, fields of study are expected to be identified following an analysis of the health service priorities and human resources needs. The government is expected, through a Fellowship Selection Committee in which the WHO Representative takes part as an observer, to select the best possible candidates in an equitable manner. It is expected to pay the candidates salaries for the duration of the fellowship. It is also required to employ the fellows in appropriate positions upon their return. When the fellow's programme is drawn up, the necessary budget must be identified and allocated in the WHO country office's budget.
For the fellow, the learning objectives for the study programme and the proposed institution of study need to be justified within the context of national needs and priorities. The candidate is expected to maintain at least a satisfactory performance and to submit progress reports on a six monthly basis. The candidate is expected to make a firm commitment to return home at the end of the study programme and work for at least three years with the national administration.
For the host institution, acceptance of the applicant also implies a commitment to ensure that the educational objectives are fulfilled through effective supervision and evaluation of progress. The host institution is expected to provide the WHO with a six monthly progress report, and state any irregularities which may occur during the study period.
For the WHO, its involvement in the fellowship process occurs at every stage starting with planning. After the application is received by the respective regional office, it is screened once again by the technical units for appropriateness of the field and place of study, as well as the basic qualification of the candidate. The organization may propose modifications based on technical considerations without ignoring the cost considerations. WHO may reject an unsuitable candidate. A fellow who fails to perform satisfactorily or shows evidence of a lack of commitment to the programme may be terminated.
All parties are concerned in evaluating the results, and for a fellowship to succeed, all these operations must be well executed and well integerated.