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During a special Ebola-related session of the World Health Organization (WHO) executive board yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, IntraHealth International urged the WHO to take both immediate and long-term, sustainable action in response to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The special session took place in advance of the WHO’s 136th session of the executive board, which begins today, January 26, 2015.
“The Ebola epidemic has tragically highlighted the urgent need for increased support for frontline health workers,” said IntraHealth health workforce expert Rebecca Bailey as she delivered IntraHealth’s statement in Geneva. “We urge all actors to help countries ensure workers have accurate information and personal protective equipment; timely delivery of salaries, hazard pay, and insurance during the crisis; and food, clean water, and medical care.”
IntraHealth also urged the WHO to develop and monitor global standards for public health emergency responses, including health workforce data, facility data, robust supply chains, well-functioning surveillance systems, and health worker training to support these functions.
“WHO must lead in ensuring health professional schools in Ebola-affected countries are staffed and funded for a rapid, sustainable health workforce recovery,” Bailey said.
As a non-state member in official relations with the WHO, IntraHealth also urged the organization to act on resolution 67.24, adopted in May 2014 during the World Health Assembly, to develop a costed, financed global health workforce strategy that sets specific targets, timelines, and commitments. The goal of this strategy is to ensure that, by 2030, all communities have access to competent health workers.
The WHO executive board meeting will continue through Saturday, February 3.