The World Health Organization has just launched the new Global Health Workforce Alliance to help countries improve the way they plan for, educate and employ health workers. Specifically:
The Alliance will seek practical approaches to urgent problems such as improving working conditions for health professionals and reaching more effective agreements to manage their migration. It will also serve as an international information hub and monitoring body.
Under executive director Dr Francis Omaswa (former Director General of Health Services of Uganda), the Alliance's initial partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Canadian International Development Agency, the European Commission, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, the International Council of Nurses, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, Physicians for Human Rights, the World Bank and WHO.
There is no doubt that human resources are one of the most significant problems facing developing country health systems, and the increased international focus - as evidenced by this new initiative - is welcome. However, there is not yet a clear consensus on even the underlying causes, let alone solutions. As my colleague Michael Clemens explains in a related post, the current emphasis on reducing shortages by restricting migration may be sorely misplaced, which only servies to highlight the need for the global community to come together for a broader dialogue informed by evidence-based research, not just rhetoric.