GHWA welcomes US/UK announcement on increasing health workforce in Africa

21 April 2008, Geneva -- The Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) welcomes the announcements by the President of the United States, George Bush and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown on their intention to provide support for increasing the numbers of health workers across four African countries.

GHWA praises the leaders on moving from recognition of the health workforce crisis to collaborative action together with Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

According to the 2006 World Health Report, an estimated 400,000 health workers are needed to bridge the gap in the four mentioned countries. This requires scaling up investment in education, skill mix and remuneration of the workforce as laid out in the Kampala Declaration and Agenda for Global Action, recently endorsed at the First Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. GHWA urges the leaders to commit the necessary resources for scaling up and engage with partners in creating an enabling policy and work environment in favour of access for all to a skilled, equipped and motivated health worker.

The Alliance notes the leader’s announcements that their immediate action should be seen as a ‘down-payment’ that if extended over the whole of Africa would lead to 1.5 million more health workers for the continent and urges they continue and expand their high level commitment to additional hard-hit countries in Africa and across the world.

With more than 4.3 million health workers needed world wide to bridge the shortage, the health workforce crisis is one of the most critical constraints to the reaching of international health and development goals and the responses to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The global response to the health worker crisis requires strong, sustained commitment at the highest level from the nations across the world. With this announcement, the US and the UK send a strong message that they will continue to be global leaders in addressing this devastating crisis.

The Global Health Workforce Alliance looks forward to learning more about how the US/UK initiatives will be rolled out and pledges to support all stakeholders in their efforts to address the health workforce crisis.