Update from #WHA72: Invest in Health Workers

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The healthcare workforce, including doctors, nurses, midwives, and across the continuum to the household level, is pivotal to the success of every public health intervention. Across the globe, countries are facing a triple burden of disease: infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, and new and emerging threats such as antimicrobial resistance. To adequately address this burden of disease, ensure access to high-quality care, and attend to communities’ needs, we need to invest in health workforce education, employment, and retention.

Last night, as part of the World Health Assembly, Seed Global Health co-sponsored a high-level event titled Invest in Health Workers in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Health Workforce Network, Last Mile Health, and Intrahealth International. Our collective goal was to emphasize the vital contribution of health workers to universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals agenda. Additionally, it provided an opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas for partnerships and collective action towards investing in health workers.

The event featured a panel with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and new WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Healthcare Workforce; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General; Dr. Jim Campbell, WHO Global Health Workforce Network; and Honorable Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of Health, Liberia. Through their personal stories, they discussed ways to advance human resources for health issues. They also reflected on the importance of political leadership in filling the gap in the global health workforce.

Here are some highlights:

“We invest in what we value and we value what we invest in.”Dr. Raj Panjabi, Co-Founder and CEO, Last Mile Health.

“Healthcare is a human-centered intervention.” – Dr. Vanessa Kerry, Co-founder and CEO, Seed Global Health.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on lessons from the 2014 Ebola outbreak:

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros on his experience as a Minister of Health in Ethiopia:


Honorable Wilhelmina Jallah’s call to action to ensure #HealthForAll:

“The best medicine for a human being is another human being.” – Pape Gaye, President and CEO, Intrahealth International

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