Our 2030 Vision for the Health Workforce

Rachel Deussom
April 3, 2018 | 1 Minute Read
Health | Health Workforce Development | Human Resources for Health
Health workers save lives — are we investing in them enough in return? During World Health Worker Week, learn what investments health workers need in order to provide care to communities around the world.

This post originally appeared on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition’s blog.

Teenager Durah stretches under a lamp with a book, absorbing every word and figure. Inspired by her aunt, she wants to become a nurse. She is the future health workforce. She is who the world needs tomorrow.

Durah wants flexibility, occupational safety, and career opportunities. Responding to her community’s health needs and workplace effectiveness will contribute to her job satisfaction. As a global community, it is our responsibility to make sure this future health worker — and many others — achieves her highest potential.

To build the future health workforce, we can empower aspiring health professionals — especially youth like Durah — to excel at jobs that can help meet health system needs. We must:

 

Investing in health workers helps them enhance communities’ prosperity, save lives, and make the world a safer place.

In Durah’s village, a nurse midwife unlocks the gate at the primary health center as the sun rises. A community health worker sets off on his bicycle to visit families in a small village tucked in the hills. A pharmacist turns the sign in her clinic’s window to display “open.” Their presence symbolizes their community’s access to health services. They, and those like them, are our current health workforce. They are who the world needs today.

The midwife has delivered hundreds of babies safely and helped families plan for their prosperous futures, but she needs the latest tools and skills to remain effective. The community health worker is motivated to serve remote communities, including for malaria and patients lost to follow-up, but he needs support to track reported cases and collect data. The pharmacist prescribes drugs so that people living with HIV can live normal, productive lives, but her practice depends on a well-managed central medical store.

They must be well-deployed, well-supported, and motivated to provide relevant and respectful services that meet standards of care. Investing in health workers helps them enhance communities’ prosperity, save lives, and make the world a safer place.

To optimize the existing workforce, we can work with country stakeholders to harness education, labor markets, and health systems to fully support today’s health workforce to be fit for purpose and fit to practice. We must:

The USAID HRH2030 program celebrates current and future health workers this World Health Worker Week. Now is the opportunity to make strategic health workforce investments. We cannot achieve better health without them.

About Rachel Deussom

Rachel Deussom is a global health specialist with 15 years of experience focusing on health systems strengthening, human resources for health, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and community engagement. She has led teams and provided technical and operational support in 17 countries across Africa, India, and Indonesia for USAID, World Bank, and Gates-funded projects. Ms.…