143 organisations urgently request health donors to support health worker recruitment in poor countries because it is key to fight COVID-19

Together with 143 civil society organisations, we call on the major funders in global health to prioritise international funding that supports recruitment of health workers in resource limited contexts. In a letter, we ask the funders to commit and contribute to pooled and adequate funding for long-term investments in the health workforce. This would address shortages for the short term COVID-19 response, but also build strong future health system resilience and health workforce preparedness and response capability. And it will guarantee readiness for public health threats, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health for all as a human right.

Most funders have already made additional resources available to governments of low and lower- middle-income countries. However, these support packages do not specifically prioritise the urgent need to recruit additional health personnel alongside priorities for research, vaccine development, protective personal equipment, test kits and programme management response support. Countries where severe shortages of health personnel have been insufficiently addressed in normal circumstances, will not be able to cope with the high pressure that comes with COVID-19. Sustainable investment in health worker recruitment and retention is critical.

Wemos’ Global Health Advocate Myria Koutsoumpa: “Africa has a share of 24% of the global burden of disease, yet, only 3% of the global health workforce. For comparison, a high-income country like the Netherlands has approximately 8.6 health workers per 1,000 people, whereas Uganda has only 0.74 and Malawi 0.35, staying far below the 4.45 threshold established by the WHO.

We urgently need collaborative action and pooled resources to ensure that the fragile and severely limited health systems are not stretched and weakened further. A lack of sufficient health workers is a major gap in the implementation of key programmes like HIV/AIDS, TB, sexual and reproductive health, malaria, malnutrition, maternal and child health. Diverting the already limited employed health workers could stall – or even reverse – the gains that those programmes have achieved over the years.”

The organisations want the global health funders to align policies and funding and address the gaps in human resources for health. They have formulated specific asks for each institution, ranging from the elimination of restrictions on use of funds, so they can be used for recruitment of health workers, to the cancellation of debt payments.

The letter was sent to GAVI the Vaccine Alliance, Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the Global Financing Facility (GFF), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) with a copy to the European Commission’s Director General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO).

Read the letter to the global health funders

Sign the letter here

Signatories to the letters:

Abubuwa Societal Development Initiatives (ASDI)
Accountability International
Action against hunger (regional office of West and central Africa)
Action for Improvement of Food Child and Mother
Advocacy Network Africa ( AdNetA)
Afara 360
Afrihealth Optonet Association
Al-Asar Development Organization 
Amref Health Africa
ARPAN
Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV (APN+) 
Association for Promotion Sustainable Development
Associations des jeunes pour la lutte contre le sida et la Pauvreté
AWTAD anti-corruption organization
Basic Integrated Rural Development Society (BIRDS)
Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF) 
Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)
Centre for Health Science and Law
Child Awareness Project
Children and Young People Living for Peace
Christian Action for Development & Support (CADS)
CISE Malawi
Coalition of African National Medical Associations (CANMA)
Collective for Food Security and Rural Development (COSADER)
Community Active in Development Association-CADA
Community Care Foundation-Uganda (CCFU)
Community Initiative Action Group Kenya(CIAG-K)
CONNECTED ADVOCACY  For EMPOWERMENT AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
Cordaid
Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW)
Divine Foundation Trust
Dr Uzo Adirieje Foundation
Dreams Alive Africa 
Emonyo Yefwe International
Eurodad
FIRD
Friends Foundation 
Fundacion Octaedro
GHP Corp
Global Association of Clinical Officers and Physician Associates (GACOPA)
Global Health Advocates France
Golden Change For Concerned Youth Forum
Gorakh Foundation
Health Action International
Health Alliance International
Health And Nutrition Development Society – (HANDS)
Health Worker for All Coalition
Health, Education and Literacy Progrmme (HELP)
Hivos
HOYWIK
Human Rights Research Documentation Centre (HURIC)
Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development (IPGFforSD) 
Innovations for Development
Instituto para el Desarrollo Humano
IntraHealth International 
Kamukunji Paralegal Trust (KAPLET)
Kenya Dental Association
Kenya Health Professionals Society
Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN)
Kenya Medical Association (KMA)
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU)
Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO)
KENYA NATIONAL UNION OF NURSES (KNUN)
Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO)
KNCV-Tuberculosis Foundation
Life Foundation
Living Goods
Maitrey-Raj Foundation 
Media Response 
MEDIBETH GLOBAL HEALTH CENTRE
Medical IMPACT
Medicus Mundi International
Medicus Mundi Spain
Medicus Mundi Switzerland
MeTA Zambia
MUMBO INTERNATIONAL
Nari Development (NDO)
National Disability & Development Forum (NDF) 
National Nurses Association of Kenya
Nebbi Sistrict NGO Forum
New Life Organization
Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association (NIWAAFA)
N’weti
ODI Niger
Organization of African Youth
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative (OLPHI)
Oxfam
Participatory Village Development Program (PVDP)
Pathways Policy Institute
Peace Foundation Pakistan
Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya
PHM Kenya
PHM North America
PHM Uganda
plan:g – partnership for global health 
Pleaders of children and Elderly People at risk (PEPA) 
Policies for Equitable Access to Health – PEAH 
Rainbow Mirrors Uganda
Reproductive Advocate Health Education
Rick Rowden (on personal title), Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, School of International Service, American university in Washington DC.
Roke Telkom Uganda
Rural Infrastructure and Human Resource Development Organization (RIHRDO) 
Rwenzori Center for Research and Advocacy
Ryculture Health and Social Innovation
S.O.S.- CRIANÇA E DESENVOLVIMENTO INTEGRAL DE ANGOLA
Safe Water and AIDS Project (SWAP)
Salud por Derecho 
Save the Children
Sewa Development Trust Sindh
Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care
Shape
Society for Conservation and Sustainability of Energy and Environment in Nigeria (SOCSEEN)
Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC)
Solidarity Hospital Buea  
Soren Ambrose (on personal title)
SOS Jeunesse et Défis
Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)
Stretchers Youth Organization
Success Capital Organisation
Sukaar Welfare Organization
TAMSA Tanzania 
The Bretton Woods Project 
The international Organization for Human Rights Development and Environment Sierra Leone Chapter
The Observatory for Sustainable Infrastructure
The People’s Fund for Global Health and Development
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Tanzania
TINADA Youth Organization (TiYO)
Training for Health Equity Network:THEnet
Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET)
Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative (CBHI)
Union des Amis Socio Culturels d’Action en Developpement (UNASCAD)
VIKASH-SAMUKHYA
Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA) 
WASH-Net Sierra Leone
West African Academy of Public Health
White Ribbon Alliance-Uganda
Women Deliver
World Merit Burundi
YOUTH AND ENVIRONMENT VISION (YEV).
Youth Engage
YOUTH INITIATIVE FOR THE PROMOTION OF GOOD LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA
Youth Organization
Youth Secretariat of Haiti
Zero Poor Africa (ZPA)

Photo credit: Anh Nguyễn Duy (via Pixabay)

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