Health workforce

Working for Health: Five year action plan for health employment & inclusive economic growth adopted at the 70th World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly today adopted a joint ILO OECD WHO five-year action plan aimed at working with countries and key stakeholders to make progress towards expanding and transforming the health and social workforce to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage, emergency preparedness and response for global health security and inclusive growth, particularly for women and youth.

Working for Health will work with countries and key stakeholders to address the global health and social workforce shortfall and generate powerful socio-economic benefits across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, contributing to better health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5) and decent work and inclusive economic growth (SDG 8).

The plan calls on countries to view the health and social workforce as an investment rather than a cost, and outlines how ILO, OECD and WHO will take intersectoral action on five fronts: galvanizing political support; strengthening data and evidence; transforming and scaling up the education, skills and decent jobs of health and social workers; increasing investments in the health and social workforces; and maximizing the mutuality of benefits from international health worker mobility. The plan includes focus on maximizing women’s economic empowerment and participation; the occupational health and safety, protection and security of the health and social workforce in all settings; and the reform of service models towards the efficient provision of care, particularly in underserved areas.

The action plan supports the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 and will facilitate implementation of the ten recommendations and five immediate actions of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. Chaired by the Presidents of France and South Africa; and vice-chaired by WHO, the International Labour Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Commission found that as populations grow and change, the global demand for health workers is estimated to double by 2030. Around 40 million new health worker jobs will be created, primarily in upper-middle and high income countries. However, the projected growth in jobs takes place alongside the potential shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, primarily in low- and middle-income countries.