Health workforce development: WHO Executive Board to consider new push for investing in health workforce

Date: 
30 Nov 2016

The forthcoming WHO Executive Board, meeting in January 2017, will consider a range of new initiatives around health workforce development. 

This agenda item (Item 8.1) is centred around the report of the UN Secretary-General’s Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth which reported in September 2016 and the outcomes of a ministerial follow up meeting scheduled for December 2016.

A major theme of the material before the Board will be how health ministers might persuade their colleagues in finance or economic planning of the importance of investing in health workforce development.  In particular, health ministries are encouraged to argue that:

  • improved health contributes to economic growth;
  • improved health sector employment can contribute to gender equity, social protection, and social cohesion;
  • the health sector can be a driver of technological transfer and development; and that
  • improving the health workforce is part of building resilience against prospective humanitarian disasters and emergencies.  

PHM’s WHO Watch team is gearing up now to observe and participate in the discussions in Geneva.  The draft PHM commentary is here.  The draft commentary includes an overview of the Commission’s report, some necessary background material regarding the politics and strategy behind the report and a critique focusing on some important omissions and distortions in the report.  The commentary will be added to when the outcomes of the December meeting are available.

PHM activists are urged to read and advise.  In particular, you are invited to share this commentary with experts in health workforce issues who might offer further suggestions.  Feedback to dlegge[at]phmovement.org.

PHM circles with links to progressive ministers are urged to bring the draft PHM analysis to the attention of EB members and other member state delegates. 

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