Shortage of health workers may hit 10m by 2030, WHO warns

Tedros Ghebreyesus DG WHO

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By Our Health Desk

Advises governments to prioritise investments in education, others

World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed the need for governments to prioritise investments in education, skills and decent jobs for health to meet the rapidly growing demand for medics and avert a projected shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030.

In a statement issued ahead of its 75th anniversary on April 7, the organisation called on governments and leaders to take action to protect and invest in health workers and other caregivers, who are at the forefront of the response to health and climate emergencies.

WHO also called for a renewed drive for health equity in face of unprecedented threats.

After the deadliest and most destructive war in human history, 75 years ago, the constitution of the WHO came into force: a treaty between the nations of the world recognising health as not only a fundamental human right but also fundamental to peace and security.

The global health body said over the past seven and a half decades, there had been extraordinary progress in protecting people from diseases and destruction, including smallpox eradication, reducing the incidence of polio by 99 per cent, saving millions of lives through childhood immunisation, declines in maternal mortality and improving health and well-being for millions more.

According to the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the history of WHO demonstrates what is possible when nations come together for a common purpose.

He said: “We have much to be proud of, but much work to do to realise our founding vision of the highest attainable standard of health for all people. We continue to face vast inequities in access to health services, major gaps in the world’s defences against health emergencies, as well as threats from health-harming products and the climate crisis. We can only meet these global challenges with global cooperation.”

To meet the challenges, WHO urges countries to take urgent action to protect, support and expand the health workforce as a strategic priority.

It stated: “Investments in education, skills and decent jobs for health need to be prioritised to meet the rapidly growing demand for health and avert a projected shortage of 10 million health workers by 2030, primarily in low- and middle-income countries.

“A global education programme on basic emergency care targeting 25 per cent of nurses and midwives from 25 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2025 was also recently announced by WHO. This 25x25x25 emergency care programme will provide nurses and midwives with the skills and competencies to make a major difference in saving lives and reducing disabilities.”

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