The World Medical Association (WMA) is urging governments around the world to address the predicted global shortage of health professionals by presenting concrete plans for investing in the health workforce.
The WMA’s council met in Chile last week where it agreed to a proposal for consideration at the High-Level United Nations Assembly meeting in September, calling for governments to submit policies and financial commitments to meet the workforce shortage.
A global shortage of 18 million health professionals has been predicted, and the WMA proposal document says closing the health workforce gap is essential to achieving universal health coverage.
“Today, there are 76 countries with less than one physician per thousand people and three billion people without access to a health professional. It is unacceptable that the patient with cancer in Sierra Leone cannot get the care they need because there is no oncologist in the country or that the woman with obstetric fistula has to suffer because there is no gynaecologist,” said WMA Chair Dr Frank Montgomery. “As our evidence to the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations makes clear, we strongly support the global move towards universal health coverage.”
The WMA has also proposed action to ensure safe and dignified working environments for physicians.