Investing in health workforce is rewarding

Last week, the UN Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth published its long-expected report. The Commission’s recommendations for educating health workers and creating job opportunities are fully in line with our call for strong health systems.

The report ‘Working for health and growth’ has come at a crucial moment. Worldwide, health workforce is unequally distributed. While low-income countries are struggling with a large shortage of health workers, they also carry a large share of the global disease burden. According to some estimates, this shortage will increase to 18 million health and prevention workers in the year 2030. Investing in health workforce is therefore urgently needed.


The Commission’s viewpoint is that health care and health workforce expenses should not be seen as costs – but rather as investments with a high return. For each Euro that we invest in health, we eventually receive nine in return in the form of economic growth and development:



  • Investments in knowledge and skills result in more and better educated health workers; by also investing in creating job opportunities, more people will be employed, and that enables them to build and secure livelihoods for themselves and their social environment.
  • More people working in health and prevention means that public health and well-being will improve. This enables the population to become and stay economically active.
  • Ultimately, investments in more health and prevention result in better global health security, such as protection against the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola.


In short: investing in health workforce is rewarding. It also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) concerning health, education, poverty reduction and gender equality (many health workers are female).


Read about our work on Human resources for health

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