Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

20th November, 2017

Actions to address the projected shortfall of 18 million health workers were the key focus of the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Dublin, attended by representatives from over 90 countries.

The Forum unanimously adopted the Dublin Declaration.

The Dublin Declaration is a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder declaration for improved governance, strategic investments and financing for a sustainable workforce. The declaration acknowledges growing evidence that investments in human capital lead to faster economic growth and that all countries stand to benefit from a healthy educated workforce. It also reaffirms the vision of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 and commits to taking coordinated action in support of the implementation of the Global Strategy and the recommendations highlighted in the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

The commitments contained in the Declaration harness political leadership on human resources for health, at global, regional and national levels, to ensure countries move with greater speed to the goal of universal health coverage.

The commitments include making investments towards transformative health workforce education and the creation of decent jobs in the health sector, especially for women and youth.

The Dublin Forum saw the establishment of a Youth Forum, recognizing that attracting and retaining young health workers is critical to transforming the health and social workforce.

The Forum also committed to improving the safety and security of health workers by upholding International Humanitarian Law, strongly condemning violence, attacks and threats directed against medical personnel and facilities.

Another action of the Dublin Forum was the setting up of the Working for Health programme – Multi-partner Trust Fund (MPTF), a catalytic pooled fund to finance country-driven priorities to expand and transform the health workforce. Jim Campbell, Director of the Health Workforce Department at the World Health Organization, says “It will be used to galvanise the efforts of pathfinder countries – those using innovative ways to build a fit for purpose health workforce – as well as priority countries, which are those struggling to provide access to health care and where the threat of emerging epidemics is greatest.”

The Forum also resulted in the launch of the International Platform on Health Worker Mobility. This platform aims to maximise benefits and mitigate adverse effects from the increasing rate and complexity of health workforce mobility and migration. This will be done through better evidence, analysis, knowledge exchange and policy action, including strengthening the implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

A team from Health Partners International and the Women for Health programme attended the Global Forum over a period of 5 days.

Highlighting the successful example of the UK aid-funded Women for Health Programme, Dr Fatima Adamu, National Programme Manager for Women for Health, delivered a charismatic lightning pitch at the World Café style, IntraHealth-hosted side event, Using Data for Governance Action: Country-Level Successes and Challenges. Dr Fatima discussed how data drawn from the Partnerships for Revitalising Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria and Maternal Newborn, Child Health programmes (PRRINN/MNCH) and the Women for Health programme was used to advocate for governance changes to address the shortage and quality of female health workers in 5 northern states.

The team hosted a Health Partners International and Women for Health exhibition booth at the Forum and shared a range of HPI ICT and Women for Health materials, including recently published How to Guides from the programme, showing a range of videos and engaging with a range of stakeholders from a huge variety of countries who were interested to hear more about our approaches. The team also attended and participated in a range of sessions learning about innovative approaches towards progressing the implementation of the Global Strategy and the Commission’s recommendations.