Eighth Alliance Board meets in Beijing to discuss progress to date and strategic next steps

15 June | GENEVA, BEIJING - The eighth meeting of the Global Health Workforce Alliance Board ("the Alliance") opened today against the backdrop of an ensuing global financial turmoil and a rapidly evolving public health emergency. The meeting is being held in the Chinese capital city of Beijing from 15-16 June.

Board members from around the world are participating at this important gathering to discuss and review progress made by the Alliance, while at the same time, provide timely guidance in the way that the Secretariat and its members are responding to the ever growing public health demands brought on by the global health workforce crisis. "We have a bold slogan - access to health workers for all - we need to ensure that we can call this out if the impact of the financial crisis continues" said Sigrun Møgedal, chairperson of the Board. "We need each others shared voices - especially in the context of encouraging our Chinese partners to keep human resources for health (HRH) on the agenda of the G20, the G8 and other influential international fora" she added.

Amidst a lingering global financial meltdown, the Board is addressing the Alliance' short- and mid-term strategic plans systematically and with unapologetic pragmatism. "There is a global HRH crisis. This crisis is different in each country and is measured by its severity. HRH is a problem in China and we welcome the cooperation that we are receiving from the Alliance, the WHO and other groups" explained Dr Wang Su Yang, Deputy Director-General of HRH at the Chinese Ministry of Health.

In keeping with the Kampala Declaration and Agenda for Global Action, strategies developed by the Alliance such as the Country Collaboration Framework (CCF) and findings from the recent work of the Health Financing Taskforce are being discussed. In addition, new advocacy and communications initiatives driven by the Secretariat are also being presented.

With the meetings taking place in Beijing, participants are having a valuable first-hand look at progress being made by China in addressing HRH. "As the world's most populous country and a nation where sweeping measures have been put in place to strengthen public health systems and structures -- and especially within the context of HRH - there are many lessons to be learned from the China experience", noted Dr Mubashar Sheikh, the Executive Director of the Alliance. "We are grateful for the continued support and commitment of our Chinese partners in keeping HRH high on the national public health agenda", he added. Prior to the meeting, board members were invited by the local hosts to visit hospitals and other health centers located in Greater Beijing.

The Alliance wishes to express its sincere appreciation to Dr Li Feng and Dr Xuegao Zhang of the Health and Human Resources Development Center and to Mr Ding Yang of the Chinese Ministry of Health. The next Alliance board meeting is scheduled to take place in Geneva in December 2009.