Six Reasons Ministries of Finance Should Invest in Health Workers

Last week’s high-level talks about human resources for health in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, resulted in the Addis Ababa Call to Action on financing the health workforce, signed by the nine ministries of health that participated.
The call to action is a powerful tool that ministries of health, national health professional associations, and other health systems and health workforce champions can now use to advocate to their ministries of finance to invest more in health workers as the most direct way to meet their countries’ health goals. 
Yet the fact that none of the ministries of finance that participated in the Addis health financing meetings earlier in the week participated in the later health workforce meeting highlights the challenge we face in simply getting the attention of ministries of finance, much less persuading them to act. 

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Years of Investments Finally Put Health Workers on the Global Stage

David OlsonThis post was originally published on the Huffington Post’s Social Entrepreneurship Blog.

For almost 10 years, I managed health programs in Africa, Asia, and South America that harnessed social marketing techniques to produce tangible benefits for poor consumers. Our programs made low-cost products such as condoms, contraceptives, and oral rehydration salts available at reduced, affordable prices. We worked mostly through the private sector and were proud of our bottom-line health impact. We didn’t think much about underlying health systems or how to improve them. And if we had, we probably would have dismissed health system strengthening as overly ambitious. Read more »

Health Workers for a New Century

Hopital El Hadj Ibrahma Niaso Kaolack“Health is about people—those with needs and those who are entrusted to respond to those needs,” said Dr. Julio Frenk, Harvard School of Public Health dean and cochair of Education of Health Professionals for the 21st century: A Global Independent Commission.

Dr. Frenk presented the Commission’s new report, "Health professionals for a new century: Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world," at the World Bank recently, noting that this report represents a change in basic thinking about health education. Read more »

Less Buck for the Bang? The Flattening of Global Health Funding

Shaun NoronhaThe availability of funding for global health may well decide to what extent the health workforce will be able to meet countries' health care needs. With current financial uncertainties, the questions on our minds are: Will a decrease in global aid force cuts in spending for human resources? Is the era of big funding for global health already over?
“No,” says Dr. Cristian Baeza, World Bank director for health, nutrition, and population. While this era may not be over yet, in a recent lecture, Dr. Baeza discussed changes that will exert pressure on the availability of global health financing. Read more »

Local Solutions, Global Solidarity, and Accountability

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Meshack NdoloWhile the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was full of opportunities, it was also quite deficient in addressing the one global issue that continues to hold back progress to achieving most of the health goals—the Millennium Development Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development. I do, however, remain optimistic.

In my country, Kenya, there is considerable awareness of the health workforce problem and there is momentum to act on many fronts. The Capacity Kenya project has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and others to develop a national Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan, which established national priorities for addressing Kenya’s workforce constraints. Read more »

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