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UN Commission Tasked with Health Employment & Economic Growth

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By J Nastranis | IDN-INPS Report


NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) - The global economy is projected to create around 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030, mostly in middle- and high-income countries. But there is a projected shortage of 18 million health workers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in low- and lower-middle income countries.

In view of this, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on March 2 the appointment of a High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. The Commission will hold its first meeting on March 23, 2016, and will deliver its final report in the margin of the 71st regular session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016.

"Having a sufficient number of health workers responsive to population needs and well-distributed across the world will be critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to addressing the growing challenges to global public health security," said Ban.

"I expect this Commission to make an important contribution towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, the creation of decent jobs, and to inclusive and transformative economic growth,” the UN head said.

The Commission will be co-chaired by French President Francois Hollande and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) will serve as the co-vice chair along with Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

It will have some 25 Commissioners reflecting a balance of policy, technical and geographical expertise, from the education, employment, health and foreign affairs sectors of government, as well as representation from international organizations, academia, health care professional associations, civil society and trade unions.

The 17 SDGs set an ambitious agenda to improve the lives of all, including through improved health and prosperity. Recent outbreaks have additionally confirmed the urgency of building resilient health systems and strengthening global health security. Health workers and health employment reside at the heart of the SDG agenda, said WHO.

The Commission seeks in particular to:
Recommend multi-sector responses and institutional reforms to develop over the next 15 years health human resources capacity for achieving SDGs and progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). These actions will enable inclusive economic growth by creating a sustainable local source of employment.

Determine innovative sources of financing and the conditions needed to maximize socio-economic returns from investments in health and social sector employment.

Analyse the risks of global and regional imbalances and unequal distribution of health workers and assess the potential beneficial and adverse effects of international mobility.

Generate the political commitment from government and key partners necessary to support the implementation of the Commission’s proposed actions.

According to WHO, the Commission is a strategic political initiative that complements broader initiatives, developed by international agencies and global health partners, and brings together a balance of policy, technical and geographical expertise from the education, employment, health, labour and foreign affairs sectors of government; alongside international organizations, health professional associations, trade unions, academia and civil society.

The Commission had been established following United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/183 which recognized that “investing in new health workforce employment opportunities may also add broader socio-economic value to the economy and contribute to the implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and requested the Secretary-General to “explore steps to meet the global shortfall of trained health workers”. [IDN-InDepthNews – 2 March 2016]

IDN is flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

Photo credit: UN

2016 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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