The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have convened a regional policy dialogue on investment and protection of health and care workers in Africa.
The dialogue is intended to help address the looming shortages of a health workforce and the associated challenges of investment.
The aim of the dialogue is to bring together members states, investors and partners to draw on lessons learned to determine key principles and opportunities for health workforce investment principles and opportunities.
It will explore the role of the sub-regional bodies in strengthening health workforce investments and protecting health and care workers.
This was contained in a statement from the office of WHO, Ghana and copied to the Ghana News Agency.
Speaking at the opening of the dialogue in Accra, Dr Francis Kasolo, the WHO Representative to Ghana, noted that investing in the health workforce would expand Universal Health Coverage, strengthen health security, equity, youth, and women’s economic empowerment.
He called for urgent action by stakeholders to accelerate investment in the health workforce.
“Countries should increase health prioritisation in the public budget to increase investment in health workforce.”
“Donors and partners can and should also play a key role in strengthening investments in the health workforce,” he said.
Dr Francis Kasolo called for investment in occupational health and safety and social protection of health and care workers to improve efficiency and reduce health workforce migration out of Africa.
“Countries will have to secure national or sub-national mechanisms for purchasing and supplying personal protective equipment. They must take steps to prevent and manage health workers’ stress and burnout, whilst ensuring that all health workers have access to a health insurance,” he said.
Alhaji Mahama Asei Seini, the Deputy Minister of Health, called for a paradigm shift in investing better and smarter in Africa’s health workforce to position the continent on the path to achieving universal health coverage.
“There can be no better time to invest in health workforce. Investments in health workforce will protect vulnerable populations from the shocks of current crises and improve health access,” he said.
The regional dialogue brought together 775 participants from 26 countries, regional and sub-regional economic communities, including the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, West African Economic and Monetary Union, Southern African Development Community and Economic, Monetary Community of Central Africa and other partners to share experiences on the health workforce investment and protection strategies implemented since 2018.