Bent Høie to take part in UN High-Level Commission on Future Health Employment and Economic Growth

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The United Nations (UN) estimates that, by 2030, the global need for additional health workers will amount to 40 million jobs. The High-Level Commission will provide recommendations to heads of state and international organizations, and will create political momentum for investment in education of health workers. It will be co-chaired by the President of France, François Hollande, and the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and will include a range of prominent global leaders.

– I am deeply honoured to have been asked to take part in this initiative. Demand for health workers is far greater than what the global capacity for education can cover. Developing countries in particular, will face great challenges. Increasing education and recruitment of health workers will be especially important in these countries in order to attain the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring health lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. I look forward to contributing with Norway's knowledge and experience in this field, through my participation in the Commission, says Bent Høie, Norway's Minister of Health and Care Services.

First meeting in Lyon 23 March

The Commission has been established by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and will be co-chaired by the President of France, François Hollande, and the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. As the UN's specialized agency for health, the World Health Organization (WHO), will take part in the Commission's secretariat. The Commissioners will meet in Lyon, France, on 23 March, and in New York in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Fearing sharper competition

Predictions of the UN reveal a global shortage of 40 million health workers worldwide. A large share of this shortage will stem from low and middle income countries. This jeopardizes the attainment of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. The WHO fears that countries to a greater extent than today will compete for health workers, and that this will have negative consequences for the world's poor.

– A great number of people today have little or no access to health workers and basic health services, in spite of health care being a fundamental human right. High income countries have a responsibility for taking part in global cooperation for ensuring that all have access to quality services. Strengthening of education and recruitment can also create broader social and economic benefits, especially through enhancing the opportunities and position of girls and young women in society. The work of this Commission will therefore align well with the Norwegian government's initiative on girls' education, says Minister Høie.

The Commission will provide recommendations in order to increase investments in the global health workforce. Adequate access to health personnel is crucial for securing quality services. The recommendations will primarily aim at improving the situation in low and middle income countries. The report of the Commission will be launced at the UN General Assembly in September.

Read more about the Commission on WHO's website