Last month the Asia Pacific Alliance for Human Resources for Health (AAAH) held their 9th conference in Colombo Sri Lanka. The theme of the conference, ‘Global HRH Strategies 2030: from strategy to implementation’ was a call to action to address the HRH challenges being faced by the Asia Pacific region and globally.
Carla Cowles, HRDA’s Business Manager, attended the five day conference to meet with and hear from AAAH member country representatives. The four objectives of the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Human Resource for Health 2030 were central to discussions and presentations at the conference.
1. To optimise performance, quality and impact of the health workforce through evidence informed policies on human resources for health, contributing to healthy lives and well-being, effective universal health coverage, resilience and strengthened health systems at all levels.
2. To align investment in human resources for health with the current and future needs of the population and of health systems, taking account of labour market dynamics and education policies; to address shortages and improve distribution of health workers, so as to enable maximum improvements in health outcomes, social welfare, employment creation and economic growth.
3. To build the capacity of institutions at sub-national, national, regional and global levels for effective public policy stewardship, leadership and governance of actions on human resources for health.
4. To strengthen data on human resources for health, for monitoring and ensuring accountability for the implementation of national and regional strategies, and the Global Strategy.
The conference provided member countries with an opportunity to discuss and share their HRH challenges. More importantly, it was an opportunity to devise strategies and develop partnerships to address challenges.
Similar HRH issues are being faced by member countries – inadequate systems for HRH data collection and monitoring, particularly of the private sector, maldistribution of the health workforce between urban and rural/remote areas, and decentralised governance of HRH.
Not surprisingly, based on the Global Strategy on Human Resource for Health 2030, three common priorities, or milestones, were identified by member countries:
4.1 By 2020, all countries will have made progress to establish registries to track health workforce stock, education, distribution, flows, demand, capacity and remuneration.
1.1 By 2020, all countries will have established accreditation mechanisms for health training institutions.
3.2 By 2020, all countries will have an HRH unit with responsibility to develop and monitor policies and plans.
Much work is needed in the coming years to meet these milestones but, encouragingly, many countries are already working towards them and are strongly committed to addressing HRH issues as an enabler for universal health coverage and the UN Social Development Goals (SDG).