World Health Day

World Health Day 2006

Working together for health

Health workers - the people who provide health care to those who need it - are the heart of health systems. But around the world, the health workforce is in crisis - a crisis to which no country is entirely immune. The results are evident: clinics with no health workers, hospitals that cannot recruit or keep key staff.

There is a chronic global shortage of health workers, as a result of decades of underinvestment in their education, training, salaries, working environment and management. This has led to a severe lack of key skills, rising levels of career switching and early retirement, as well as national and international migration.

In the Western Pacific Region, countries report geographic or regional shortages of staff. The major problems are shortages in rural and remote areas and in poorer urban areas. In many countries, the supply of nurses and midwives is failing to keep pace with increasing demand.

Solutions to this crisis must be worked out at local, national and international levels, and must involve governments, the United Nations, health professionals, non-governmental organizations and community leaders.

In 2006, World Health Day (celebrated annually on 7 April), will be devoted to the health workforce crisis. On this day around the globe, hundreds of organizations will host events to draw attention to the global health workforce crisis and celebrate the dignity and value of working for health. We invite you to join with WHO and other organizations to celebrate World Health Day 2006. Together, we can make a difference.