KAMPALA (March 3, 2008) - AIDS activist group ACT UP-Paris blamed the G8 leaders and the World Health Organization for the global crisis in health workers, on the first day of the Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Kampala, Uganda. They called upon G8 leaders and the WHO to take aggressive action now to end the crisis, such as to keep their outstanding commitments on health aid and technical support to developing countries. Activists also stressed the importance of developing country leaders doing their part.
Dr Francis Omaswa, the Director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance which organizes the Kampala Forum, stated in a press conference today that, with a top-up investment over current spending of 35 billion dollars over the next 7 years, Africa can overcome its health workforce crisis by 2015, through training, hiring, retaining and deploying additional health workers.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the 8 wealthiest countries account for 50% the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 85% of the GDP of all rich countries combined. Thus, the G8 leaders hold the key to any massive investment in global public goods, such as health and the health workforce. They must pay at least 85% of the missing 5 billion dollars per year (0.02% of the G8 annual GDP).
The World Health Organization has a track record of helping developing countries write convincing, credible and ambitious requests for donors on other topics than human resources for health, for example on topics like tuberculosis and malaria. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has expressed thankfulness to the WHO for having helped countries present high quality funding requests against these two diseases in the recent past. This happened because, for these health topics, the WHO publicly took responsibility for providing technical support to countries with insufficient planning capacity in the health sector.
The WHO must now take responsibility for providing technical support solutions to any developing country wishing to develop a health workforce plan and submit it to donors for funding. WHO must confirm this role-taking during the Health Worforce Forum in Kampala.
African leaders must also do their part in order to end the health workforce crisis. They must start to reward their own aides and officials based on how well they perform with regards to health plan design and implementation. They must involve local patient organizations and civil society in both the design and implementation phases. Finally, they must express publicly the need for G8 leaders to keep their promises to fund health in Africa (and express it in coordination with Western international health solidarity advocates).
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