Health systems can only function with health workers; improving health service coverage and realizing the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is dependent on their availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality.
WHO estimates a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries. However, countries at all levels of socioeconomic development face, to varying degrees, difficulties in the education, employment, deployment, retention, and performance of their workforce.
The chronic under-investment in education and training of health workers in some countries and the mismatch between education and employment strategies in relation to health systems and population needs are contributing to continuous shortages. These are compounded by difficulties in deploying health workers to rural, remote and under-served areas. Moreover, the increasing international migration of health workers may exacerbate health workforce shortfalls, particularly in low- and lower-middle income countries. Human resources for health information systems are often weak to take stock of selected health workers from the public sector.
In some countries, challenges in universal access to health workers may also result from the lack of capacity by the public sector to absorb the supply of health workers due to budgetary constraints. As a result, some countries face the paradox of health worker unemployment co-existing with major unmet health needs.
The High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth identified six pathways by which investments in the health and social workforce can spur inclusive economic growth. The health workforce has a … Read More