Investing in a Safe, Supported Global Health Workforce

Last year, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Atul Gawande opened his remarks at the International Conference on Primary Health Care with some staggering statistics: By 2030 there will be an estimated shortage of 10 million health workers worldwide. Nearly half of this shortage will be experienced on the African continent. Many countries struggle to meet WHO’s international minimum target of 44.5 health workers for every 10,000 people. Caused by low salaries, unsafe working conditions, poor infrastructure, and a lack of community trust, the shortage itself is also exacerbating health worker burnout. A deficit of this magnitude will have increasingly severe consequences for health systems and the people who work in and are served by them.

Without workers, gains in access, quality, and innovation in health care are certain to recede. How do we ensure that all health professionals, from those leading national programs and operating medical supply chains and health information systems to those counseling and caring for clients, are supported?

This World Health Worker Week, JSI joins partners to call for a renewed commitment and investment in a safe and supported global health workforce. Through our collaboration with health workers, and evidence generated by our work around the globe, we’ve identified specific approaches that meaningfully support their work.

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