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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.

WHA69 Intervention on health workforce and services

WHA year

May 2016

Honourable Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the international organisations representing the world’s physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and physical therapists. Together, they form the World Health Professions Alliance WHPA, representing over 26 million health professionals in more than 130 countries.

As health professionals, we welcome the Draft Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health (HRH). It recognizes the crucial role of the health workforce (HW) in realizing the goal of universal health coverage (UHC) and successful achievement of the SDGs.

UHC requires a strong and well‐educated HW, able to address the social determinants of health. UHC must be embedded in a holistic health care system with a focus on primary healthcare with close links to prevention, secondary, tertiary care and rehabilitation.

WHPA applauds the WHO for the statement made in the strategy that investment in HRH has a growth‐inducing effect and healthcare itself is a strong pillar of any economy.

A strong healthcare system not only delivers quality healthcare it also offers employment opportunities and builds resilience in the face of economic crises and catastrophes. Governments must recognize and protect the fundamental human rights of the HW, particularly free from discrimination, coercion and violence.

Unfortunately, evidence shows that violence against the HW is growing and WHPA calls for urgent actions to remedy this alarming trend.

A safe and decent working environment is essential to realizing the HRH as well as to ensuring the successful recruitment and retention of health care workers.

This will be even more important in the light of current demographic trends indicating a high demand for health care workers.

The WHPA calls on governments and local authorities to ensure that working conditions in rural health services are sufficiently attractive to enable them to develop to the same extent as those in urban areas.

Thank you.