10 facts on health workforce crisis

3 March 2008

A young male health worker checking a local blood supply.

WHO estimates the global health worker shortfall to be over 4.2 million. That shortage is impairing provision of essential, life-saving interventions such as childhood immunizations, safe pregnancy and childbirth services for mothers, and access to treatment for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. As a result, people are suffering and dying needlessly.

Without prompt action, the shortage will worsen and health systems will be weakened further. As populations continue to grow in developing countries and grow older in the developed countries, health demand is on the rise virtually everywhere.

The Global Health Workforce Alliance, which is housed and administered by WHO, is a partnership dedicated to identifying and implementing solutions to the health workforce crisis. Since its launch in 2006, the Alliance has convened experts, political leaders, civil society and health workers to grapple with complex workforce challenges, including employee migration from developing to more developed countries, educational obstacles to a trained workforce, financing to invest in human resources for health, and advocacy and research for long-term problem-solving.

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