Strengthened health workforce a prerequisite for ageing populations
A statement from the Global Health Workforce Alliance on the occasion of World Health Day 2012
Geneva, 7 April 2012 | World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April to mark the founding of WHO. This year, the focus is on the vision of "Good health adds life to years", where WHO is drawing global attention to ageing and health to highlight ageing as a rapidly emerging priority. On the occasion of World Health Day 2012, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) underscores the critical role that health workers have in caring for ageing populations and in the delivery of essential health care services.
According to the WHO, in the next few years, for the first time, there will be more people aged over 60 than children aged less than five. By 2050, 80% of the world’s older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries. Currently, the main health challenges for older people are noncommunicable diseases. Health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are poorly designed to meet the chronic care needs that arise from this complex burden of disease.
“The new emerging demands being placed on the health care system does not only imply a serious need for greater numbers of health workers, but also requires an evaluation of the competencies and necessitates changes in the way services are provided to older adults, said Alliance Executive Director, Dr. Mubashar Sheikh.
As we mark World Health Day, the Alliance calls for the provision of accessible, reliable and affordable health care for all and pledges its support to health personnel across the world. Clearly, without a committed, motivated and skilled health workforce, it will be impossible to make meaningful strides in improving global health outcomes. The Alliance urges increased investment in training, recruitment, retention and support of health workers, at all levels, ensuring a committed and motivated health workforce to better serve our ageing communities now and for the future.