Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health mulls shortfall of workers

14 November 2017

Experts from Trinity are among those speaking at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which is taking place in Dublin this week. The world is facing a crisis due to shortfalls in health workers, and discussion around potential solutions to that problem is the key focus.

The Forum is co-convened by Trinity, and also brings together professionals from the Department of Health, Irish Aid, the HSE, and the Irish Forum on Global Health, along with peers from the World Health Organization and the Global Health Workforce Network.

Health workers protect the world from emerging health threats, help communities prevent disease, and provide care throughout our lives. Investing in health workers also makes the economy more productive -- a quarter of economic growth in 2000-2011 in low- and middle-income countries resulted from improvements to health.

The health and social sector is expected to generate 40 million new health worker jobs by 2030, each supported by at least two jobs in other occupations, but predictions also show that the world faces a deficit of up to 18 million workers by that time.

The health sector in Ireland is also experiencing challenges in the recruitment and retention of health professionals. Targeted efforts to address these issues are under way, but the potential impact of emerging and accelerating global and regional health workforce shortages presents a strategic risk to the effective functioning of the Irish health system. 

Edward Kennedy Professor of Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin, Charles Normand, said: “Ireland is well placed to host the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, commencing today in the RDS, as a supporter of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, and the principles and values contained within.”

“We have long experience of the emigration of health professionals and in recent years have become dependent on health workers trained abroad. This has given a good understanding of the issues on both sides. In addition the Irish Aid programme works with some of the poorest countries in the world, and in many cases has a focus on supporting the health sector. We also carry out relevant research on this topic in Trinity and several other Irish HEIs.”

Under the theme ‘Building the health workforce of the future’, over 1,000 delegates at the Forum will discuss and debate innovative approaches to avert the health workforce challenge, including retention, training and migration. The Forum thus aims to advance the implementation of a Global Strategy and aid the Commission’s recommendations towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   

The Forum will conclude with the Dublin Declaration, a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder declaration for improved governance, strategic investments and financing for an effective, performing and sustainable workforce at the end of the week.

Media Contact

Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences | yokenned@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4337

Thomas Deane, Press Officer for the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685

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