Washington, DC, November 20, 2017 (PAHO/WHO) - From November 13-17, 2017, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) participated at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health - Building the health workforce of the future, in Dublin, Ireland. More than 1000 leaders, experts and human resources from around the world joined the Forum to discuss and debate innovative approaches to avert a potential 18 million health worker shortfall.
On Tuesday, November 14, PAHO's Department of Health Systems and Services (HSS) sponsored a side event on "Human Resources for Universal Health in the Americas: Regional and Countries Perspectives". During the first part of this event, James Fitzgerald, Director of HSS, presented PAHO's new Strategy on Human Resources for Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage, recently approved by Member States.
The strategy is intended to guide national policies on human resources for health, taking into account that the availability, accessibility, acceptability, relevance, and competence of human resources in the health sector are key components for advancing towards universal health.
"When working with the countries of the region to implement the Strategy on Universal Health, we found two main barriers: lack of health financing and that the countries that wanted to expand access to primary health care based in the principals of Universal Health do not have sufficient human resources for health", explained Fitzgerald.
The importance of the inter-sectoral component of the Strategy on Human Resources for Health was emphasized during the presentation. "There needs to be an inter-sectoral action between health, education and labor to essentially govern and facilitate the process by which qualified human resources for health are incorporated and retained into health services, wherever they are needed", said Fitzgerald.
Representatives from sub-regional organizations also participated and shared their vision to implement the Strategy. The panelists were Myrna Bernard, Director of Human Development, Caribbean Community, and Common Market (CARICOM); Pablo Casado, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); Nila Heredia, Executive Secretary, Andean Health Agency-Hipólito Unanue Agreement (ORAS/CONHU); and Alejandro Solís, Executive Secretary, Council of Health Ministers of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA). From a country level perspective Collette Adams, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health of Guyana and Pablo Casado, National Director of Human Capital and Occupational Health, Ministry of Health of Argentina, discussed the countries perspectives and challenges to implement the Strategy on Human Resources for Health.
The second part of the session was opened by the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Brazil, Antonio Nardi, who presented the challenges and context of the Brazilian health system (SUS). Afterward, PAHO/Brazil presented the "Mais Medicos" (More Doctors) program that has had a positive impact on the strengthening of the health system.
These presentations and discussions will serve as a basis for the development of an action plan for the implementation of the Strategy, ensuring that national, sub-regional and regional plans are aligned. Some of the priority areas for the Region discussed during the Forum include: work force planning to strengthen primary health care, strengthening national regulatory capacity for accreditation of human resources and health services, social accountability of health training institutions, mobility and migration management.
The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health Forum is an intersectoral event, with participation from a range of actors across sectors such as education, health, labour/employment and finance. It is the largest open conference on human resources for health related issues and is expected to gather over 1,000 delegates from across the globe. Further information on the Forum is available on the Forum's website: http://hrhforum2017.ie/