HWAI Celebrates the First World Health Worker Week: Advocating for a Healthier World

Apr 08, 2013, 14:03 ET from Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative Secretariat

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative (HWAI) joins the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners in celebrating the first World Health Worker Week, April 8 to 12, 2013.

World Health Worker Week will mobilize communities, partners and policy makers in support of health workers and celebrate the lifesaving work of health workers worldwide. The week will bring attention to gaps in the health workforce by calling on those in power to ensure that health workers have the training, supplies and support they need to do their jobs effectively.

Louise Holly, chair of the HWAI network, said, "While we already have days to celebrate the work of doctors, nurses and midwives, World Health Worker Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate the important work of all health workers—including those frontline health workers who are the first point of care for so many people around the world." Despite advances in medicine, many people, particularly the poorest and those living in rural areas, continue to suffer needlessly from preventable and easily treatable diseases because these populations often lack access to skilled health workers.

Holley added, "The WHO estimates that around 4 million more health workers are needed globally. We need urgent action to fill this gap and to make sure that health workers are properly supported to provide needed prevention, treatment and health education to communities."

World Health Worker Week marks the beginning of a larger global movement to increase awareness of health workforce issues. The Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) is promoting the week in advance of launching the Health Workers Count campaign during the World Health Assembly in May 2013. Health Workers Count will build momentum and elicit new commitments leading up to the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, a major global health conference that will be held in November 2013 in Recife, Brazil, co-hosted by GHWA and the Government of Brazil. HWAI and other civil-society partners are leveraging the conference to call for increased strategic investment in strengthening the health workforce in order to meet the 2015 millennium development goals and the larger goal of universal health coverage.

HWAI is an international network of civil society, health workers and others committed to addressing the global health workforce crisis, a fundamental barrier to achieving universal health coverage. HWAI serves as a platform for sharing knowledge and developing joint positions and activities related to advocacy for health workers, and also seeks to empower health workers to become advocates. The HWAI Secretariat is managed by AMREF and IntraHealth International.

HWAI supports WHO's Code of Practice by promoting task shifting and sharing, advocating for mainstreaming human resources for health, and encouraging more financing for the global health workforce. During the past five years, the HWAI network has played a key role in increasing attention and resources globally for human resources for health. For more information visit www.hwai.org.

SOURCE Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative Secretariat