Renewed Commitments to Global Health Workforce Required to Achieve Universal Health Coverage Goals

Global Economic Downturn Is Undermining Global Health Workforce Gains

May 06, 2013, 10:15 ET from Global Health Workforce Alliance

GENEVA, May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the world grapples with the combined challenges of the economic slowdown and the globalization of disease and growing demands for chronic care, the need for an expanded and well-supported health workforce has never been greater, according to Dr. Marie Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization and Executive Director a.i. of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA). 

"Health workers urgently need an investment of $40 billion before 2015 if we are to meet the Health Development Goals (MDGs) in 49 low-income countries," Kieny said of the eight international development targets established at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit. She added that since 2010, official development assistance has fallen by 6 percent. "If we don't reverse this declining trend in foreign aid, the significant gains made in maternal, newborn and child health will be at risk," Kieny warned.

GHWA will address this issue at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, Nov. 10-13, 2013 in Recife, Brazil. The Forum provides a target date to mobilize key stakeholders to support and strengthen the health workforce to achieve the health MDGs and universal health coverage (UHC). GHWA is calling to secure new, actionable investment commitments from governments, the private sector and other groups to close the health workforce gap and to better support existing health workers. To this end, at the upcoming 2013 World Health Assembly, GHWA is catalyzing local, national and global action under the umbrella message "Health Workers Count!"

"Together, we must make commitments that translate into tangible results and measurable outcomes on the ground," said Dr. Ruediger Krech, Director at the World Health Organization who is in charge of organizing the Third Global Forum.

Globally, one billion individuals cannot access health care and 4 million new health workers are needed to address the global workforce shortage. Conflicts in Syria and targeted violence toward health workers in Pakistan and Nigeria administering vaccines are further undermining gains toward achieving UHC.

"Without skilled and motivated health workers there are no health services. Without the appropriate numbers and skill-mix there is no quality of care. Without community, facility, specialist and public health workers there is no continuum of care," said Krech.

SOURCE Global Health Workforce Alliance