Home | WHPA Press Releases | Health professions demand strong principles for task shifting

International Council of Nurses (ICN)
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
World Dental Federation (FDI) World Medical Association [WMA] The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)


Health professions demand strong principles for task shifting


Kampala, Uganda 11 March 2008 Twelve guiding principles for effective ‘task shifting’ – employing new health care workers to provide health services normally provided by health professionals - have been issued by leading health professions’ organizations (www.whpa.org).

Meeting in Kampala, Uganda at the “First Global Forum on Human Resources for Health”, the six organisations, representing more than 25 million health professionals, say they understand the need to tackle the human resource crisis in health care, but express concern that adding new cadres of health workers might result in inefficient and confusing services affecting patient care.

The new principles call for country specific decisions on skill mix, competency based career frameworks and sufficient health professionals for supervision and training of new cadres of personnel.

Dr. Jon Snaedal, President of the World Medical Association, said:  “These principles are critical for effective health system functioning given the increased emphasis on ‘task shifting’ and new cadres of health workers.”

Prof. Dr. Kamal K. Midha, President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, said: “We support the need to address today’s health human resource crisis.  Every day we see the impact of shortage of personnel, supplies and equipment on patients, families and providers. We witness the impact of not enough staff, clean water, enough drugs, enough money to access services or to afford life’s staples. Our hope is not to have a fragmented and disjointed system but to have a holistic system which deals with acute shortages as well as long term care and wellbeing of patients.”

He said that successful task shifting and expansion of the health work force required the integration of assistive personnel into the health care team.  More importantly, it needed to ensure safe and adequately resourced work places as well as sufficient compensation and benefits for all health personnel.

Dr. William Holzemer, Board member of the International Council of Nurses, said:  “If done well, task shifting will provide more care for more people, but will require a solid referral structure with appropriate and timely access to a sufficient number of qualified health professionals.  Moreover, it will require major investment in health training and services.”


Contact person for the WHPA:
Dr. Julia Seyer
World Health Professions Alliance
World Medical Association
BP 63
01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France
Tel:   +33 450 40 75 75
Fax:  +33 450 40 59 37

E Mail:  whpa@wma.net


For further information please contact Dr. Seyer or:

Nigel Duncan
WMA Public Relations Consultant
+44 20 8997 3653 (work)
+44 7984 944 403 (mobile)
Email:  nduncan@ndcommunications.co.uk
website: www.whpa.org


Editor’s note


  • The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of 129 national nurses' associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.  Operated by nurses for nurses since 1899, ICN is the international voice of nursing and works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

  • The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of the national organisations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.  Pharmacists are health professionals dedicated to improving the access to and value of appropriate medicine use.

  • The World Dental Federation (FDI) is the authoritative, worldwide voice of dentistry with more than 150 member associations in 134 countries around the world, representing more than 900,000 dentists internationally.

  • The World Medical Association (WMA) is the global federation of national medical associations, representing the millions of physicians worldwide.  Acting on behalf of physicians and patients, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical science, education, ethics and health care for all people.

  • The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is a non-governmental organization of 85 national associations from over 75 countries. The Confederation focuses on the worldwide advancement of aims and aspirations in attaining improved outcomes in midwifery.

  • The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is a non-profit organisation comprising 101 member organisations, together representing more than 300,000 physical therapists worldwide. The Confederation works to improve global health by encouraging high standards of physical therapy research, education and practice; supporting communication and exchange of information


For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel :  +41 22  908 0100;
fax :   +41 22  908 0101;  email:  ; Web site  www.icn.ch 
Web site: www.whpa.org



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