A two day High-level Ministerial Meeting convened by World Health Organisation, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Labour Organisation has concluded in Geneva with bold statements committing to action to implement the recommendations of the High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. Twenty-eight statements were presented from governments, professional associations, civil society and the private sector, highlighting increased investments in the health workforce at the national, regional and global levels. At the same time, the 71st session of the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Global Health & Foreign Policy: Health Employment & Economic Growth’. The resolution is a clear mandate for Member States to adopt and act upon the Commission’s recommendations.
The Report of the High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, launched by the Commission chairs François Hollande and Jacob Zuma outlined actions to capitalize on the projected creation of approximately 40 million new health worker jobs by 2030, whilst addressing the current shortfall of 18 million health workers to achieve and sustain universal health coverage, primarily in low- and lower-middle- income countries. These actions will significantly contribute to global inclusive economic growth, creation of decent jobs and achievement of Universal Health Coverage. They also complement various global development efforts set out by the international community, especially related to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the humanitarian and health crises. Deliberations through various roundtable sessions focused on different dimensions of relevance to this agenda, such as decent jobs; education, training and skills; international migration and mobility; health labour market data; financing and fiscal space; partnership and coordination; and accountability and advocacy. The meeting affirmed the necessity for transformative action, dialogue and shared responsibility across government sectors and constituencies to build a sustainable global health workforce.
The Ministerial Meeting brought together a range of multisectoral actors from governments, including ministers of education, health, labour, as well as ambassadors and representatives from the permanent missions to the United Nations; employers, health worker associations and unions, civil society, multilateral and bilateral organizations, regional organizations, and the private sector.
Participants and delegates also agreed to a five-year action plan, which presents an inter-sectoral joint program of work across the three agencies and sets out ways to support Member States as they implement the Commission’s recommendations. This marks the beginning of a phase of global intersectoral collaborative action in advancing implementation of the recommendations, as requested in the UN Resolution Global health and foreign policy: Health Employment and Economic Growth. It also illustrates the type of interagency partnerships required for progress towards the 2030 development agenda. The action plan is available for public consultation until 17 February 2017, and will be further consulted on through the ILO, OECD and WHO governing bodies.