Countries of the Americas agree to strengthen human resources for health to achieve resilient health systems

Human resources in health

Washington D.C. 26 September 2023 (PAHO) – Health authorities of the Region of the Americas agreed today to a series of actions to strengthen human resources for health so that they can contribute to the development of resilient health systems and the recovery of public health gains that were eroded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Policy On The Health Workforce 2030: Strengthening Human Resources for Health to Achieve Resilient Health Systems, highlights the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the availability, distribution, and quality of health personnel, as well as the high degree of instability in working conditions, the lack of psychosocial support and the repercussions on the mental health and well-being of health personnel.

The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted a chronic shortfall and poor distribution of human resources for health in the Americas, as well as the lack of investment in their training, and professional development.

Throughout the first two years of the pandemic, health care workers also reported problems with their mental health and well-being, as well as social stigma, violence and the lack of support networks. They also reported high rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and psychological malaise.

“Healthcare workers were a key element of pandemic response and remain critical to the ongoing social and economic recovery in our Region,” Dr. Benjamin Puerta, Unit Chief, Human Resources of Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said.

“The new policy outlines a series of actions to increase the number of health care workers available to our health systems and to provide them with the training and working conditions they need to thrive.”

The Policy on the Health Workforce 2030 proposes five priority actions to address these issues and strengthen human resources for health:

  • Strengthen governance and promote national priorities and plans for human resources for health.
  • Develop and consolidate regulatory mechanisms related to human resources for health.
  • Strengthen the formation of interprofessional teams and their integration into integrated health services networks based on primary health care.
  • Enhance workforce capacity-building to address population health priorities and support public health emergency preparedness and response.
  • Promote decent working conditions, protection of the physical and mental health of health workers, and an adequate supply of human resources for health through financing and regulation.

PAHO will provide cooperation to Member States for the implementation of the policy and its strategic lines of action. The Organization will also support the development of national policies, regulatory frameworks, and national capacities to contribute to the strengthening of human resources for health and will prioritize the development of the Virtual Campus for Public Health to help build capacities among health personnel in the Region.