Human resources for health

Global Situation Summary

The Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly also requested the Director-General to declare human resources for health development as the theme of the World Health Day 2006 and to include it as a top priority programme in WHO’s General Programme of Work for 2006 – 2015.

The World Health Report 2006 – Working Together for Health drew attention to a health crisis caused by a growing trend - that of health workers leaving poorer areas for wealthier ones, and often leaving the countries that invested in their training to take up jobs abroad. This is a problem that contributes to an already weak delivery system, making it one of the greatest obstacles to progress in public health.

Factors contributing to the shortage of health workers include growth of the global population as training of health workers stagnates, the rise in chronic diseases and the ageing of populations, which increases the need for long-term care.

The Report stresses that new strategies are needed to enhance the effectiveness of the health workforce and that governments must take the lead role in planning, formulating and implementing required policies, with the support of partners.

In response to the report, WHO launched a new partnership, the Global Health Workforce Alliance. Its purpose is to pursue the report’s recommendations by urgently identifying and implementing solutions to crisis.