Statement from the 19th GHWA Board meeting

The Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance met in Geneva on 22-23 October 2015 to oversee the successful completion of the Alliance’s ten-year mandate (2006-2016) and determine plans for a new, multi-sectoral governance mechanism on Human Resources for Health (HRH) to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Universal Health Coverage and the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030.

The Board noted that the SDGs will require a dynamic, multi-sectoral health workforce agenda to achieve the inter-connected targets in health, education, gender and employment (amongst others). The planned adoption of the WHO Global Strategy on HRH in May 2016 therefore presents an unprecedented opportunity to catalyse financial, political and technical commitments and the Board determined to work with WHO and all relevant stakeholders towards its adoption and implementation.

The special contribution of the Alliance Chair, Dr Mitsushiro Ushio, and the Government of Japan was recognized. Dr Ushio’s planned retirement initiated the nomination of Board Members to chair and participate in its Standing Committee and take forward the critical next steps in 2015-2016.

The Board thanked the Executive Director and the Secretariat for the important consolidation in 2015; including progress on core activities and the substantive improvement in financial resources. Particular appreciation was noted for the tributes to health workers in the response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak and in the many, ongoing protracted emergencies. The Alliance’s collaboration with WHO to accelerate the implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel was highlighted.

The Board recognized the extensive contributions of the Alliance membership in supporting the development and finalization of the Global Strategy. It thanked the GHWA, ILO, WHO and World Bank teams for developing updated estimates of the need and demand for health workers and expressed concern for the scale of the projected mis-match in the global health labour market unless action is taken. The Board members pledged to actively support, according to their respective roles and capacities, the adoption of the global strategy, its accompanying resolution and the proposed establishment of a new, multi-sectoral HRH network. The Board emphasized that the modus operandi of the future network will leverage the capacity and commitment of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society. The transition arrangements will be defined and operationalized to allow its launch at the World Health Assembly in May 2016, thus maintaining momentum and generating political commitment beyond the mandate of the Alliance. The Secretariat was requested to explore the feasibility and interest for a fourth Global Forum on HRH in early 2017 to convene the network and prompt new actions.

Analysis of the impact of the HRH commitments made at the Third Global Forum gave the Board additional confidence in the positive contribution of GHWA in its closing stages. The Board welcomed WHO’s engagement on learning from the experience of hosted partnerships and launched its own analysis of the legacy of GHWA.

The Board concluded that global governance for HRH will continue to be a critical factor for UHC and the SDGs and calls upon all Alliance members to renew their commitments towards health workers and the health workforce.