Task Force on Global Health Worker Shortage Holds First Meeting
international task force met for the first time March 13 in Geneva,
Switzerland to tackle the global shortage of health workers. The World
Health Organization says a shortfall of 4.3 million health workers
exists worldwide, including more than 1 million in Africa. "The simple
fact is that the world needs many more health workers," said Dr.
Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general. "The world faces global as well
as local threats to health. Infectious diseases have staged a dramatic
comeback and chronic diseases are on the rise. We cannot improve
people's health without staff to deliver health care."
The task force is chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, former chief executive
of the National Health Service in England, and Bience Gawanas, the
African Union commissioner for Social Affairs; it includes two African
ministers of Health, Dr. Stephen Mallinga of Uganda and Marjorie
Ngaunje of Malawi, and representatives of Merck & Co., the Gates
Foundation, the International Council of Nurses, and Brazil's Ministry
of Health. They'll work to increase investment in educating and
training health workers in developing countries by raising awareness of
the problem, WHO said.
The task force will present initial recommendations this fall to the
Global Health Workforce Alliance. GHWA already has grants from
countries such as Canada, France, Ireland, Norway, and the United
Kingdom, which has promised $1.9 million in a two-year period.