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The main purpose of the meeting is to agree on the scope of the guidelines and especially to define and finalize the questions on population, intervention, control, outcome (PICO) that will guide the subsequent research work over the following months. In addition, this occasion will serve to ensure that everyone is familiar with the processes and requirements to develop WHO guidelines in general, as well as to share some reflections on the policy discourse and evidence on the topic addressed by these specific guidelines.
The first GDG meeting follows several months of internal discussions among different departments of WHO and in collaboration with UNICEF, leading to the development of an initial planning proposal on the guidelines. This planning proposal has been given a conditional approval by the WHO Guideline Review Committee, but it will only be finalized following the GDG meeting and reflecting deliberations.
Public Services International supports a focus on community workers, provided the assumption is that they are well trained and well paid qualified workers. Investment in primary health care, preventative health care, is crucial if we want to decrease health costs – currently too much is spent on acute care, which might also be linked to the interests of the health industry; i.e. big pharma and the manufacturers of medical equipment. Primary health care and preventative health care are best carried out by community based health care workers. However, we do stress that this is where there is a lot of underpayment, under-training and exploitation, and lack of sustainable funding.