The Forum Working Group convened for the second time in Washington DC

Second Meeting of Forum Working Group - PAHO HQ, Washington, D.C. USA - 18-19 March 2013

Washington DC, 20 March |Hosted by the Pan American Health Organization in Washington DC. the second meeting of the Forum Working Group concluded yesterday with representatives from the Global Health Workforce (GHWA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO), the Ministry of Health of Brazil, JICA, Save the children, AMREF, USAID and various other partner institutions.

In his opening remarks, Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Alliance Executive Director, reiterated the will and commitment by the Alliance to use this Third Forum as a global platform to advance the HRH agenda one step further, and to make real progress towards universal health coverage and to place HRH at the core of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

A draft of the background paper of the forum was presented, which outlined HRH as a critical element of UHC, which states that the contemporary agenda around the health workforce required going beyond mere numbers, and shifting the discourse to effective coverage, and other dimensions, such as accessibility, availability and quality. It was also proposed that this model be used as the basis and roadmap to elicit new HRH commitments in the lead-up to the Third Global Forum: for a comprehensive but targeted outreach strategy, whose main elements may include:

  • High-level diplomacy and advocacy from Brazil, as host country of the Forum, to governments, focusing in particular on other low- and middle-income countries and the BRICs.
  • High-level diplomacy and advocacy from senior members of the GHWA Board to OECD countries and leading bilateral and multilateral development partners.
  • Direct outreach by GHWA Secretariat to member organizations and partners of GHWA (including its Board constituencies and the wider membership).
  • Leveraging regional consultations and other relevant global health event as an opportunity to create awareness, build momentum and elicit political will for new HRH commitments.

Regional Director of PAHO/WHO, Dr Carissa Etienne, who gave brief remarks at the meeting, told the group that strengthened and flexible health systems are essential to achieve universal health coverage, and that a key element will be to ensure adequate and supported health personnel.

Several updates on the technical programme, enabling environment activities, advocacy initiatives and technical products were shared and discussed. The technical program of the Forum is geared to present and share innovation, examples of best practices, review progress made and generate new commitments. The programme will comprise a Forum thematic plenary, with 5 subthemes, each of which have related track sessions. The 5 subthemes include

  • partnership and accountability
  • strategic investment for UCH and MDGs
  • laws and regulations for HRH
  • Overcoming policy, social and cultural barriers
  • Innovation and research for management and technologies

The Ministry of Health in Brazil provided an overview of logistical arrangements onsite.

While the meeting was a success, note was taken of the huge volume of work required to be done, both technically and logistically. A comprehensive report of the meeting is currently being prepared and will be available shortly.