Strengthening the health workforce to move forward toward universal health coverage and accomplish the set 2030 goals

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening the health workforce to move forward toward universal health coverage and accomplish the set 2030 goals. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:305-6


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening the health workforce to move forward toward universal health coverage and accomplish the set 2030 goals. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Nov 14];9:305-6. Available from:

Globally, the presence of a competent health workforce is a critical element to ensure optimal health care delivery, in accordance with the needs of the community. [1] In fact, it has been projected that by the year 2030, the global demand for health care will create in excess of 40 million vocational opportunities, especially in high-income nations. [2] On the contrary, low- and lower-middle-income nations have to deal with a shortage of 18 million health workers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which in itself is an alarming public health concern. [2]

The health workforce not only improves the living standards of people under normal standards but even also plays a crucial role in building the resilience of the society and nations to respond to any public health emergencies/disasters. [3] It is a crucial fact that owing to the health workforce crisis, most of the nations failed to achieve the set targets under the Millennium Development Goals, and history is going to repeat itself as the global leaders aim for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and achieve universal health coverage. [2],[4]

Moreover, it is a complex issue, as by only ensuring the availability of health workers, not everything will fall in place. [1] It is very important to simultaneously ensure that they are equitably distributed, accessible to the general population, possesses the required competency, are motivated enough to work for the betterment of the community, and are empowered to provide quality assured care which is appropriate, and acceptable to the sociocultural norm of the residents. [1],[4],[5]

Simultaneously, there is a significant need to enhance the overall investment on the health workforce as serious questions have been raised pertaining to the sustainability of the workforce and the health systems. [4],[5] Further, in response to the emergence of varying kinds of challenges in the health sector, there is a great need to re-assess the effectiveness of earlier strategies and develop a micro-plan to ensure the sequence of events towards sensitizing, deploying, retaining, and timely rewarding the health workers. [2],[3]

To improve the existing scenario of shortage of health workforce, a new commission has been formulated with objectives of building adequate evidence to warrant attention of the political leaders; developing a plan to involve various sectors and ensure institutional reforms to improve human resources capacity for achieving desired goals; motivating political commitment from government and other stakeholders to support the plan of action; strengthening policy dialogue across various sectors; exploring for innovative sources of financing and opportunities to maximize the returns from investments in health; and by assessing the consequences of disparities in the distribution of health workers. [2],[4]

To conclude, owing to the existing mismatch between the requirement and the actual availability of the health workforce, there is a serious threat to the stability of health systems and global health security. The need of the hour is to lay down a foundation for a strong, effective, and well-equipped health workforce, competent enough to respond to the public health priorities which are prevalent now or might emerge in the future.



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World Health Organization. UN Secretary-general Appoints High-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth; 2016. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Mar 13].
Zhou K, Zhang X, Ding Y, Wang D, Lu Z, Yu M. Inequality trends of health workforce in different stages of medical system reform (1985-2011) in China. Hum Resour Health 2015;13:94.
World Health Organization. Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 – DRAFT 1.0 Submitted to the Executive Board (138 th Session). Geneva: WHO Press; 2015. p. 1-26.
Plough AL. Building a culture of health: Challenges for the public health workforce. Am J Prev Med 2014;47 5 Suppl 3:S388-90.

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.190163

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