Best Investment for a Healthier World


Health Employment Ministerial Meeting Holds Promise To Advancing on Universal Access to Health Services

Courtesy of IntraHealth International.

Courtesy of IntraHealth International.

By Cecilia Amaral, Frontline Health Workers Coalition secretariat and IntraHealth International

Yesterday was Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day – the anniversary of the United Nations’ endorsement of UHC – and organizations and advocates around the world made a collective call for a commitment to equitable health systems to ensure that essential health services are accessible and affordable to all.

Investing in health benefits economies – in fact, evidence reveals the economic return on investment in health is 9 to 1. UHC aims to ensure all people have access to quality, essential health services without imposing financial hardship, which hinder the economic benefits of a healthy population. To get there, progress needs to be made in addressing gaps in access to trained and supported health workers, projected to reach a shortage of 18 million by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries, if no action is taken.

Addressing this issue means breaking down one of the most acute barriers to achieving UHC and holds the potential to save millions of lives.

Courtesy of IntraHealth International.

A key step in addressing the health workforce barriers to achieving UHC begins tomorrow and Thursday in Geneva (Dec. 14-15). Government and UN officials, health worker associations and unions, civil society, agencies and multilateral organizations, and private sector and other stakeholders will convene at the High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth: From Recommendations to Action to agree on a five-year action plan to secure commitments and accountability for accelerated health workforce investments.

The Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) Director Vince Blaser will be there delivering a statement pledging support to the action plan and committing to continue FHWC’s work advocating for the health workforce agenda within the context of U.S. foreign assistance and with other advocates around the world to push for greater and more strategic investments in the global frontline health workforce.

The meeting will be webcast live. Please join us in watching and tweeting using the hashtags #HealthWorkers, #HealthWorkersCount and #InvestInHealthWorkers.

The Meeting is the latest in a series of steps taken in the last two years to address the global health workforce shortage. Following the unanimous approval of the first ever Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 by WHO member states, the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (ComHEEG) launched a report presenting the case for urgent investments in the health workforce that resulted in ten recommendations to attain the direct benefits of these investments in health and inclusive economic growth, paving the way to UHC.

With this solid evidence and the resulting five-year action plan, the FHWC will continue to support the backbone of UHC: the men and women on the frontlines of health that provide the affordable and direct services, especially for underserved populations in hard-to-reach areas, with the ultimate goal to save lives and foster a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.