Global Health Workforce Alliance applauds G8 2009 focus on addressing health workforce crisis

10 July 2009 | GENEVA - The Global Health Workforce Alliance (the “Alliance”) strongly welcomes the G8 declaration on health and development, as well as the Health Experts’ Report on ‘promoting global health’ endorsed by G8 leaders at this year’s Summit held in L’Aquila, Italy. The report acknowledges the urgency of addressing the scarcity of health workers in developing countries and also establishes the critical role that health system strengthening has in advancing universal access to health services.

The Alliance is especially encouraged by the prominent role attributed to the Kampala Declaration and the Agenda for Global Action for addressing the health workforce crisis. The Kampala Declaration was launched by the Alliance in March 2008 at the first Golbal Forum on Human Resources for Health. The world is facing a critical shortage of over 4.3 million health workers, including a lack of at least 1.5 million in Africa. Health workers provide essential, life-saving interventions for pregnant women, safe childbirth, vaccinations and access to services for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and in addressing the growing burden of chronic and non-communicable diseases in developing countries. The Alliance takes note of the continuing commitment made by G8 members on increasing health workforce coverage, including community and mid-level workers, initially towards the WHO threshold of 2.3 health workers per 1000 people, in partnership with the African countries.

“We eagerly look forward to scaling-up activities at country-level and in being at the table later this year during the scheduled planning meeting with African partners to establish a viable roadmap in addressing the health workforce crisis,” said Mubashar Sheikh, Executive Director of the Alliance. “The ongoing financial crisis calls for greater investment towards health system strengthening and ensuring the access to all to appropriately trained, motivated and supported health workers. The sustained recognition and commitment made by the G8 will proide the much needed impetus in resolving the current global health workforce crisis. This week, G8 nations had a chance to prioritize this critical issue- and they did,” noted Dr Sheikh. He added “Building sustainable, universal access to health care lies at the heart of the 21st century development agenda Closing the health worker gap, through collaborative efforts of developed and developing nations, is therefore an essential step towards securing health and economic development for all.”

The Alliance also commends G8 2009 recognition for the need to address the issue of health worker migration, and in particular the development of the WHO-led Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

The Alliance will continue to convene and work actively with partners and stakeholders at the country, regional and global levels to facilitate the achievements and monitor the progress on the commitments made at th G8 summit for addressing the health workorce crises consistant with the Kampala Declaration and the Agenda for Global Action.

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