|Human resources are key for advancing universal health coverage, says PAHO Director|
Achieving universal health coverage requires strong and flexible health systems, and strengthened human resources for health are a key part of such systems, said Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in welcoming members of a special working group for the Third Global Forum for Human Resources in Health, who are meeting at PAHO headquarters this week.
The Third Global Forum for Human Resources in Health will be held in Recife, Brazil, in November 2013. The forum is being coordinated by PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO) and will focus on the role of health workers in systems for universal health coverage and in the post-2015 development agenda.
Dr. Etienne told members of the working group that systems for universal health coverage require a well-trained health workforce that is distributed according to health needs. “Without human resources for health, we could not function,” she said.
Past meetings of the Global Forum for Human Resources in Health helped position the issue of health workforce strengthening as a key component of health systems. “This third forum should position health workers within the general movement toward universal health coverage,” said Dr. Etienne.
Speaking of the challenges of universal health coverage, she said, “If you ask anyone, what they want is access to health services without fear of impoverishment.” Another key challenge, she said, is to provide comprehensive care that spans from prevention through treatment.
The Third Global Forum for Human Resources in Health will facilitate discussion of these issues among policy- and decision-makers and representatives of civil society, professional associations, the private sector, development partners, and others.