Health workforce

Health Workforce at the Seventy-second World Health Assembly

4000 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States and partner organizations are convening in Geneva, from 20 to 28 May 2019, for the Seventy-second session of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the theme of which is "Universal health coverage: leaving no-one behind. Take a look at the health workforce agenda of the Assembly.

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Health Workforce

20 May 2019 - In his opening remarks to the Seventy-second World Health Assembly, WHO Director General, Dr Tedros announced the appointment of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Goodwill Ambassador for the health workforce.

Momentum for community health workers at the Seventy-second World Health Assembly

22 May 2019, Geneva – Today, the World Health Assembly recognized that community health workers play an important role in delivering quality primary health care services as part of interdisciplinary teams. Through a resolution supported by Member States, the Assembly took note of the WHO Guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes. Building on 40 years of increasing recognition since the Declaration of Alma-Ata, the guideline presents a series of evidence-based recommendations to strengthen, reinvigorate and establish the system foundations and essential health system integration for this sector of the health workforce.

2019 Heroines of Health Awards

Geneva, Switzerland – May 19, 2019 – At the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Women in Global Health, with support from Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic Foundation, Pathfinder International, and United Nations Foundation, celebrate and honor seven women for their commitment and achievements in global health at this year’s Heroines of Health awards.

Heroines of Health seeks to highlight women’s significant contribution to healthcare, as women continue to make up a comparatively small percentage of global health leadership, despite holding 70 percent of jobs in global healthcare and contribute nearly $3 trillion to the health and social sector. Far too often the life-saving contributions of women leaders in health go unrecognized and their inspiring stories stay untold.

Celebrating nurses

12 May 2019 - On the occasion of the International Day of the Nurse, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins hundreds of partners worldwide to highlight the importance of nurses in the healthcare continuum and celebrate this vital workforce. The theme for this year is “Nurses A Voice to Lead – Health for all.

Call to Action: Addressing the 18 Million Health Worker Shortfall


Recognizing the critical role that health worker organizations and youth play in the health labour market, the World Health Organization is launching a call to action which aims to stimulate bold collaborative actions of healthcare professional associations and youth organizations with member states to implement ambitious solutions to address the health workforce shortfall by 2023 at country level.

Take part in the “Call to Action: Addressing the 18 Million Health Worker Shortfall”.
Deadline for submission is 18 May 2019.

Call for contributions - United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health – Report on Medical Education and Health Workforce Strengthening

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dr. Dainius Pūras, has focused his forthcoming report to the 74th UN General Assembly on Medical Education and Health Workforce Strengthening. This will be the first UN Special Rapporteur report since 2005 that places explicit focus on the health workforce. A call for submissions is currently open for stakeholder input. As part of its feedback to the UNSR, the WHO Health workforce department has emphasized the need to expand focus to health professions education, address the continuum from education to employment, and to reference the movement towards socially accountable health workforce education.
All stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the call for submissions by 20 May 2019. For additional information please feel free to contact Julie Hannah:

Health workforce and the Sustainable Development Goals – an infographic

Dr Tedros on the health workforce

(EB144, January 2019)

The power of health workers

Contact us

Health Workforce Department
World Health Organization (WHO)
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Tel: +41 22 791 2542
Fax: +41 22 791 4747

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