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The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved a five-year plan to massively scale up education and training for health workers in low-income countries, thanks in part to intensive advocacy efforts by IntraHealth International and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition.
The announcement on May 25, during the 70th World Health Assembly, set in motion a plan to avert the projected global shortfall of 18 million health workers that could occur by 2030—and to improve global health and create jobs in the process. Delegates from 194 Member States agreed that more of their governments will make financial commitments to their health workforces; many will make these pledges at the upcoming Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in November.
The Working for Health plan is an unprecedented milestone for the global human resources for health movement, and comes just one year after the WHO adopted the first-ever global health workforce strategy, Workforce 2030.
The UN Secretary-General’s High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth created the plan based on its findings that the global demand for health workers will double by 2030, leading to a potential shortfall of 18 million health and social service workers, primarily in low- and middle-income countries.
“Our hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals—and especially for achieving universal health coverage—lies with health workers,” says Laura Hoemeke, director of communications and advocacy at IntraHealth. “Primary health care—from saving women’s and children’s lives to ensuring safe surgery for all—requires qualified people in every component of every health system. We commend the WHO for taking this step, and we at IntraHealth are eager to make this vision a reality so that everyone everywhere can have access to the health care they need to thrive.”
IntraHealth advocated for greater focus on the health workforce leading up to and throughout the 70th World Health Assembly, including by cosponsoring the following events:
More about IntraHealth at the World Health Assembly.