Health workforce

Health professions networks

Well trained and educated health workers save lives! World Health Report 2006: working together for health

Health professionals play a central and critical role in improving access and quality health care for the population. They provide essential services that promote health, prevent diseases and deliver health care services to individuals, families and communities based on the primary health care approach. Mechanisms for optimizing the strengths and skills of health professionals will be essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The World Health Report 2006: Working Together for Health highlighted a worldwide shortage of almost 4.3 million doctors, midwives, nurses and support workers. Thirty-six of the 57 countries with severe shortages are in Africa. Responding to this urgent crisis, the 59th World Health Assembly adopted Resolution WHA59.23 which recognized the “centrality of human resources for health for the effective operation of country health systems” and called for the use of innovative strategies to maximize health professionals’ contributions.

Through networks and partnerships, WHO will:

  • Support Member States to maximize the contributions of health professionals through interprofessional education and collaborative practice.
  • Provide technical guidance and develop policy options and tools for enhancing health professionals contribution to health systems strengthening through the primary health care approach.
  • Map the international and regional health professional networks that have the capacity to support global health initiatives.
  • Link health professionals worldwide through virtual communities of practice so they can inform effective policies and promote successful practices.
  • Support the maintenance and development of professional competencies through continuing education to ensure health professionals are equipped to provide the best care possible.

HRH Milestones

Contact us

Human Resources for Health
World Health Organization (WHO)
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland 
Tel: +41 22 791 2542
Fax: +41 22 791 4747