Statement of the Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance

Geneva, 26th February, 2015 - The Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) met in Geneva on 25-26 February 2015 to examine the strategic requirements for the health workforce agenda in the post-2015 period, the exciting potential of health workforce investment on health, equity and socio-economic outcomes, and the future of global governance for human resources for health (HRH) after the successful completion of the ten-year mandate of the Alliance in May 2016.

Convening at this innovative time for global health and development, the Board emphasized that substantive and strategic investments in HRH are needed in order to ensure the right to universal access to safe and quality health care, a life of dignity for all, and to attain the health, education, employment, equity, gender and wider development targets under consideration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Board noted how the Ebola crisis in 2014-2015 has demonstrated that global health security is reliant upon a fit-for-purpose health workforce and resilient public health systems and paid tribute to the health workers providing services in such adverse conditions. In reviewing the ambitious targets in the SDGs the Board noted that health workforce investment represents a strategy for the creation of employment opportunities, particularly for women, and is a driver of economic growth for countries at all levels of socio-economic development.

The Board took note of the extensive, one-year consultation by the Alliance in support of the development of WHO’s Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health (Workforce 2030) and the comprehensive collation and synthesis of evidence presented by the Secretariat. The Board endorsed the synthesis paper and its key messages and urged WHO to be ambitious in developing a contemporary vision on HRH. This Workforce 2030 vision should provide concrete and practical guidance to Member States on the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the future SDGs and incorporate a robust measurement and accountability framework to improve data and evidence-based decision-making. It should incorporate a public health perspective, encompassing preventive as well as curative health services; address the roles, working conditions and productivity of all types of health workers; and the engagement of communities and people-centred care is critical to ensure future accountability of health systems and health workers.

The Board recognized that investment in HRH is required to attain UHC and to address possible labour market failures. Importantly, the Board emphasized that this additional investment has the potential to generate high returns in terms of wealth creation. An economic investment plan will be needed in some low-income countries and fragile states to harness increased domestic resources complemented by innovative financing from the public and private sectors. The Board requested the GHWA Secretariat, WHO and the World Bank to continue work on the characteristics of a future investment plan, including the development of costed estimates for needs-based health employment.

The successful completion of the Alliance’s mandate (2006-2016) provides an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and renew commitments to coordinated, effective action in support of country priorities. The Board took note of the six-month consultation on the future of global governance in HRH and recognized that a new collaborative model must support and build upon the role of the WHO, with a transition from the model of a hosted partnership. It noted the continued demand for a mechanism that can inform high-level political engagement, inter-sectoral and multi-lateral policy dialogue and foster global coordination and mutual accountability. A task force of the Board, in consultation with members and stakeholders, will make recommendations for an innovative model that can meet future challenges and work towards the vision that everyone has access to a health worker.