Invest in Innovation to Increase Africa’s Health Workforce

Official Outcome Statement from 2nd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

Participants including AMREF's team at the 2nd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health have adopted the Bangkok Outcome Statement.

The statement reinforces the principles of the Kampala Declaration made at the 1st Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Uganda in 2010.

Please read the statement below.

From Kampala to Bangkok: Reviewing Progress, Renewing Commitments Outcome Statement of the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

Bangkok, 29 January 2011

The Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH) in Bangkok reviewed progress and renewed the commitment to strengthening the global health workforce, restating that a robust health workforce is a core element of health systems in all countries, and critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Universal Health Coverage, with the vision that:

All people, everywhere, shall have access to a skilled, motivated and supported health worker within a robust health system.

Key advances in health workforce development have occurred over the past three years since the First Global Forum in Kampala. The adoption of the WHO Global Code of Practice in 2010 on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (the Code) was a major achievement.

The 2010 proceedings of the United Nations High Level Summit on the MDGs, the launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children's Health, the European Union Global Health Strategy, the African Union Summit, and other events have added momentum to health workforce development.

The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health states that an additional 2.6 to 3.5 million healthcare workers would contribute significantly to the lowest‐income countries reaching MDGs 4 and 5. Requirements to achieve universal health coverage in a wider range of countries would be higher. The progress report on the Kampala Declaration and Agenda for Global Action demonstrates some advances, as well as challenges requiring increased attention, in the priority countries most affected by health workforce challenges. The upcoming UN General Assembly sessions on HIV/AIDS and on Non‐Communicable Diseases will provide further opportunities to highlight the vital role of health workers.

The participants of the Second Global Forum reiterate the principles of the Kampala Declaration and the Code as instruments for alignment and accountability at global, regional, national and local levels, and call upon all stakeholders to accelerate implementation in a comprehensive manner.

Read then entire Outcome Statement.

Invest in Innovation to Increase Africa’s Health Workforce

January 21, 2011

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) At the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Bangkok, Thailand, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) is calling on world governments and development partners to move beyond mere discussions and to take concrete action to solve the global health worker crisis.

“We need to walk the talk by investing in human resources for health." -Dr. Peter Ngatia, Director for Capacity Building, AMREF

“We need to walk the talk by investing in human resources for health,” says Dr Peter Ngatia, AMREF’s Director for Capacity Building. “Walking the talk means investing in innovative methods of training and retaining health workers. Scaling up of human resource production cannot happen unless we invest in the use of technology to train the numbers that are required.”

AMREF is the world’s leading African health development organization and has been training health workers for close to 50 years, including clinical officers, community midwives and community health workers. AMREF’s current focus is on improving the health of women and children by focusing on human resources for health, health leadership, governance and management, health management information systems, and strengthening of community systems.

"Yet until we have adequately trained numbers of health workers, the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain an illusion." -Dr. Peter Ngatia, Director for Capacity Building, AMREF

“The 105 medical schools in Africa do not have the capacity to meet the urgent demand for doctors, nurses and midwives among many other cadres of health workers. Yet until we have adequately trained numbers of health workers, the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain an illusion,” says Dr. Ngatia.

AMREF believes that the following areas must be addressed in developing human resources for health:

  • Increase in the number of health workers educated in Africa
  • Increase in the number of health workers educated in developed countries to stem immigration of Africa’s health workforce
  • Reduce rural-urban migration of health workers
  • Reduce movement of health workers from public to private sectors
  • Increase development of skills and competencies of the existing health workforce
  • Make taskshifting a priority. Taskshifting is when specific tasks are moved where appropriate from highly skilled health workers to health workers with shorter training and fewer qualifications e.g Doctors to clinical officers, making the health systems more efficient and increases access to quality health services.

These can only be achieved through:

  • Use of innovative methods of training health workers, including doctors, clinical officers, nurses, midwives and community health workers e.g. application of ICT, e-learning, m-learning and telemedicine
  • Increased investment in production of health workers
  • Delivery of the 15% budgetary allocations pledged by African governments to improve the working conditions of health workers in rural areas and public health facilities
  • Increased investment by global health initiatives in HRH development in Africa

AMREF has been nominated for three Awards of Excellence at the Forum and with be sharing our expertise on improving human resources for healthby participating in panel discussions and organizing workshops.

Jennifer Foulds
Director of Communications and Public Relations

Jennifer Foulds is the Director of Communications and Public Relations at AMREF Canada.

Want to interview an Amref Health Africa expert? Get in touch with our Director of Communications and PR, Jennifer Foulds.