'Getting to Zero' with the support of health workers - World Aids day 2011
Geneva, 1 December 2011 | The latest Progress Report on the "Global HIV/AIDS Response" of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNAIDS indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15% reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22% decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years. On the occasion of 30th World AIDS Day, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) underlines the central role of health workers, including community health workers who dedicate their lives to improving health in their communities and providing care for people living with HIV.
A recent study conducted by the Alliance Task force (on Universal Access to HIV/AIDS services) entitled Can MDG 6 Be Achieved With The Health Workforce We Have? reveals that the global shortage of health workers is a major obstacle to scaling up HIV services for universal access and achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Health services depend on having the right people, with the right skills, in the right place. Improvements in the numbers and skills of the health workforce could transform the response to HIV and save millions of lives. This can be achieved by preventing HIV among health workers and treating those who are infected; expanding the workforce through training and increasing the skills of the existing health staff; and by retaining skilled staff in the public-health service where they can be most effective in delivering services to the largest numbers of people in need.
Every country at every level of socio-economic development can make progress by adopting health workforce development strategies that are evidence-based and tailored to the local context, said Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Executive Director of the Alliance.
The Alliance has been advocating for increased numbers and better trained and motivated health workers since its inception in 2006. At a recent side-event at the High Level Meeting on AIDS, in New York, the Alliance brought together a high level panel that identified human resources for health as a crucial element in the global AIDS response.
On this day, as we celebrate World Aids Day, the Alliance will continue working through its members and partners in strengthening the health workforce contributing towards a world with Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths. The Alliance urges increased investment in training and recruitment of health workers, at all levels, ensuring a committed and motivated health workforce to better serve our communities.