6 July 2021
Ministers and high-level representatives are meeting this week in the 2021 high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) under the auspices of ECOSOC. One of the main outcomes of the event is the expected agreement on a ministerial declaration on the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. The World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), representing over 41 million health professionals, reminds policy makers that health and care professionals were and continue to be severely affected by COVID-19, both personally and professionally. Although the current draft declaration covers many areas of concern and encourages agreement on the way forward, it lacks tangible commitments to changing the situation and mechanisms for measuring progress towards stronger health systems and a more resilient health and care workforce.
Specifically, WHPA calls on concrete action and ambitious financial commitments to effectively help safeguard our underfunded, COVID-affected health systems. This is critical to ensuring the health, safety and retention of our essential health workforce and the community at large. We must do better to protect health professionals, their patients, families, communities, and the broader health of countries.
Ministers are reminded to refer to the concrete actions listed in the main report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) which was presented at and noted at the 74th session of the World Health Assembly.
With the designation of 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers (YHCW) by the World Health Organization (WHO), WHPA and its members are paying tribute in 2021 by advocating for those working in healthcare. To tackle the high attrition rate of health professionals worldwide, WHPA believes that significant improvements are required on all levels and in most nations to strengthen health and healthcare by providing better recognition, better workplaces, and better working conditions.
WHPA’s Positive Practice Environments campaign focuses on improving the workplace for all health personnel and contributing to making work in healthcare more attractive, dignifying, and effective. This campaign is a building block to achieving WHO’s Triple Billion targets. Without a strong, motivated and highly qualified health workforce, it will not be possible to achieve universal health coverage, protect people from health emergencies, or have better overall health and well-being.