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The good, the bad and the hoped-for in health work

The 2nd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health is approaching its last day (for more on the background to the Forum and the issue of health workers, see my pre-Forum blog). There has certainly been some interesting content. The short film Imagine was a brilliant example of the creative way in which the health-worker crisis can be communicated. And there have been some excellent country examples, including the success story represented by Malawi, which has shown bold leadership in prioritising health workers and the health of its people, and the progress made by Rwanda in reducing maternal and child mortality, not least by using disease-specific funding for broader health systems goals, including strengthening its workforce.

At the same time the Forum has reported that while some countries have been able to strengthen their health workforce and thus improve the health of their population, an awful lot of work remains to be done. Progress overall has been disappointing, and there is a feeling that much more urgent action is required – we are after all talking about a crisis here, with 3.5 million new health workers required and an estimated 1 billion people who never see a health worker in their entire life. This sense of urgency brought together a number of civil society organisations at the Forum, including Save the Children.

Together with the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative we have released a statement highlighting some of the most pressing issues and urging participants to recognise the need for bolder leadership and more concerted action in tackling this crisis. Have a read of the statement and let me know what you think.

In my next blog I’ll tell you what kind of reaction our statement generates, and give some overall impressions of the Forum and where it has taken us in terms of this most crucial of public health issues. Watch this space.

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