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:
- Transform health workforce education and align approaches with the latest global guidance for high-quality services. Use competency-based and community-based methods and reinforce cognitive, problem-solving skills.
- Plan for health workers based on data, demographic and epidemiologic transitions, as well as historical trends, to help policymakers balance supply and demand. Understanding the distribution of health graduates and current workers helps predict where future gaps will be.
- Amplify youth’s and women’s voices to shape what 21st century health jobs should be. Women are a powerful but not fully recognized force in the caregiving economy.