Health workforce advocates gather in Recife for the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for health

Under the theme Human Resources for Health: foundation for Universal Health Coverage and the post-2015 development agenda, more than 1300 delegates from over 80 countries are gathering in Recife, Brazil for the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health to chart a new contemporary human resources for health (HRH) agenda.

Noting the advances that have been made in a decade of HRH action, delegates will dedicate the next three days to presenting new evidence and debating innovative HRH solutions and building momentum toward ensuring that financing and global leadership across all sectors keep pace with requirements for a contemporary agenda. The Forum represents an important opportunity in advancing the agenda and linking its outcomes to the ongoing discussions on UHC and the post-2015 development agenda. The conference which runs through Wednesday, 13th November at the Pernambuco Convention Center is hosted by the Government of Brazil and organized by the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA), The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

"There is no doubt, that our progress over the last 10 years has been significant, but maintaining this pace is simply not enough," said Dr Marie Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Executive Director a.i. of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA). “Renewed approaches to the health workforce agenda are critical for moving towards universal health coverage. We require a workforce that is fit for purpose, able to respond to and deliver accelerated progress and ensure equity. This is a challenge for all countries, not only low- and middle-income countries.”

One of the main objectives of the Forum is to announce new political commitments for human resources for health, based on technical evidence, to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage. “We are hoping to get some cutting-edge commitments from countries and partners that will translate into tangible results and measurable outcomes on the ground" said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director at the WHO, leading GHWA and WHO’s efforts for the Forum.

Several new products on HRH will be launched at the Forum. A new progress report on the human resources for health - A Universal Truth: No Health Without a Workforce will be launched on 11 November–provides an analysis on the most up-to-date information on health workforce availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality. It also highlights a forward looking HRH agenda, with an estimation of health workers needs over the next 15-20 years. The WHO will launch new Guidelines on Transformative Education for Health Professional – which provides policy and technical guidance in the area of pre-service education, to countries experiencing shortages of health professionals. A special human resources for health issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, launching on 12 November, provides examples of success stories in tackling health workforce challenges, and presents innovative approaches and new evidence for countries.

Forum Programme

The structure of the Forum includes high level, plenary roundtables which will provide political insights centering on key HRH subthemes. Roundtables will be followed by parallel track sessions, which will technically explore specific aspects of the subthemes in more depth.

Main subthemes

  • Learning from a decade of action on HRH with respect to efforts to achieve the health-related MDGs as well as other important national and global health goals? Are we on the right track towards universal health coverage (UHC)?
  • Matching health workforce production to population needs and expectations.
  • Social needs and the regulatory role of the State.
  • Deployment, retention and management for an effective health workforce.
  • Empowerment and incentives for health personnel as we move towards UHC.
  • Exploring a forward looking agenda to make sure the health workforce is the vanguard for UHC.

Side events

A number of side events which will take place on the fringes of the main Forum address an assortment of priorities critical to health workforce development and will provide linkages to various sessions within the main Forum Programme. Areas of focus of these events include - HRH planning, recruitment & retention, migration, leadership, management, occupational safety and health, roles of the private sector and civil society, community health workers, nursing and midwifery - among others.

Online Viewing

A substantial portion of the conference will be available through webcasts. The webcast links will be provided shortly.


For more information and/or to set up interviews, please contact:
Sonali Reddy
GHWA Communication’s Officer
Tel. +41-795090647