What’s Ahead? Making Commitments to Strengthening the Health Workforce

Sarah DwyerThis week we’ve celebrated the amazing lifesaving work of health workers around the world, as part of the first-ever World Health Worker Week. We’ve also raised awareness of some of their challenges. Of course, one week is not enough, and health workers deserve our support and appreciation everyday—especially those on the frontlines.

Now it’s time to look ahead.

CapacityPlus and our lead partner, IntraHealth International, are deeply engaged in the planning process for the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which will take place November 10–13 in Recife, Brazil. We want this to be far more than a regular conference or a celebration of health workers—this event will serve as a target date to mobilize action on health workforce strengthening to achieve the health MDGs.

We’re working with the Global Health Workforce Alliance and other partners to use the Forum as an opportunity to advocate for concrete commitments by governments, the private sector, and other groups to invest in closing the health workforce gap and supporting existing health workers.

At the ForCarol Balesum we’ll have a rich gathering of people from many arenas who share the goal of improving access to health care. Participants will come from the public and private sectors, civil society and faith-based organizations, and the donor community—as well as the health workforce. Together we hope to take some serious steps toward the ultimate goal of universal health coverage.

Having enough skilled health workers in the right locations, of course, is absolutely vital to making this happen. The World Health Organization’s recent Executive Board report spells this out: “It is essential that countries wanting to improve access to health care meet the challenge posed by shortages in the health workforce. Renewed approaches to the health workforce crisis will therefore be critical for moving towards universal coverage.”

We’ll share more plans for the Forum in the coming months. In the meantime, think about what your commitment to health workers will be.

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 Photo 1 by Trevor Snapp (Sarah Dwyer). Photo 2 by Jonathan Durlam (Carol Bales)