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The World Health Professions Alliance speaks for more than 41 million health professionals worldwide, and is the only alliance which convenes knowledge and experience from the key health professions in more than 130 countries.

WHPA speaks up for post-pandemic protections at Fifth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

Fifth Global Forum 2023 parallel session

Leaders of the WHPA health professions were among the high-impact decision makers who attended the WHO’s Fifth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, the outcomes of which will inform the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Care in September 2023.

The WHPA shared its evidence on the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on health professionals from its latest report, sourced from real data from the five member organizations at a parallel session entitled “COVID-19 impacts on the health workforce past, present and future”, held on at 10.45 Monday 3 April. The report, a joint publication in the WHO’s Human Resources for Health Observer Series with the title “What the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed: the findings of five global health workforce professions”, was briefly presented by Howard Catton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses which took the lead on producing the report.


Learning from the pandemic, protecting health professionals

Moderated by WHPA Chair and CEO of World Physiotherapy Jonathon Kruger, the panel focused the mental health impacts of the pandemic on the health workforce as well as increasing demand for health services and changes to scope of practice emerging from the pandemic. Speakers represented the views and perspectives of the five member organizations 

  • Chima Amadi: International Pharmaceutical Federation
  • Dr Karen Bjøro: Second Vice President, International Council of Nurses
  • Dr Osahon Enabulele: President, World Medical Association
  • Melissa Locke: Vice President of World Physiotherapy
  • Professor Ihsane Ben Yahya: President, FDI World Dental Federation

Watch the video of the session (login required). 

In addition to the WHPA parallel session, the President of ICN also chaired a separate parallel session on “Health workforce response during COVID-19: impacts, challenges and opportunities” (3 April at 15.00), which reflected on the impacts of the pandemic on health and care workers, the diversity of approaches adopted, the evidence on policy and management interventions, and opportunities to turn the challenges posed by the pandemic into opportunities to enhance resilience and to sustainably strengthen the health and care workforce.

As the Forum was a hybrid event, the parallel sessions garnered not only a sizeable online audience but were also viewed by participants attending in person, both in specific rooms dedicated to the sessions and on large screens on display in public areas of the WHO.


Influencing high-level decision makers

Finally, leaders of WHPA member organizations attended the invitation-only High-level Health Workforce Investment Roundtable on 5 April. The WHPA leaders joined 40 selected decision makers including ministers, leaders of international financing institutions, bilateral and multilateral agencies and private sector investors as official speakers at the top table to participate in this important policy dialogue. By bringing the perspective of the health professions to the table, they contributed to this multi-sectoral discussion to devise better ways to align and stimulate investments into the health workforce.