Statement made at the 152nd session of the WHO Executive Board on 1 February 2023
Honourable Chair, Distinguished Delegates,
We welcome the Report by the Director General on progress towards achieving UHC within the context of the SDGs, and appreciate the attention drawn to the lack of concrete operational steps being undertaken to realise goals/targets adopted in laws and national plans. One of the concrete steps which is vital to progress on UHC is adequate and sustainably financed health workforce development, including palliative care specialists, with a focus on integrated service delivery for primary health care. In the face of a WHO projected shortfall of 10.2 million health workers by 2030, particularly (but not exclusively) in lower- and middle-income countries, this step cannot be neglected.
Health professionals are at the heart of every health system, and governments and employers must provide safe, supportive environments to help them thrive and to ensure retention of qualified and valuable staff. Positive Practice Environments are vital to achieving UHC, which means ensuring decent working conditions, including occupational safety, manageable workloads, stress reduction measures, adequate remuneration, and the provision of psychosocial support and counselling, especially during times of emergencies.
We also welcome the call for national health systems to be inclusive of civil society, and suggest that concrete mechanisms for policy makers and regulators to interact with NGOs such as health professionals’ and patients’ associations and advocacy groups be recommended to ensure that stakeholders’ voices have impact. This will respond to the UHC principles of equity and quality and contribute to the provision of high-quality patient care as well as creating enabling workplaces for the health workforce.
We recognise that United Nations high-level meeting on UHC provides a unique opportunity to reinvigorate progress towards UHC. Action-oriented outcomes to strengthen health systems provide the basis for implementation and accountability, building on the 2019 Political Declaration.
Constituency statement made on behalf of:
- World Medical Association
- International Pharmaceutical Federation
- International Council of Nurses
- World Physiotherapy
- International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care
- International College of Surgeons
- Women Deliver
- Movendi International