Health Workforce in COVID-19 Action Series: Time to Protect. Invest. Together

Over a year into the pandemic, health systems face the triple challenge of responding to COVID-19, sustaining essential health services and addressing vaccine roll-out requirements. Throughout 2020, teams working across WHO in innovative and collaborative ways produced a strong library of guidance and tools to support Member States in responding. As we strive to make the International Year of Health and Care Workers one of transformative action, critical attention must focus on:

  1. Identifying, sharing and learning from country and regional adaptations and experiences;
  2. Highlighting prevalent and persisting issues and challenges that require additional attention and innovative response;
  3. Promoting an overall vision for sustainable health workforce investment, in line with GPW and SDG (UHC) priorities; and
  4. Catalysing political commitment and action to protect and invest in health workers.

The Action Series consists of three episodes, conducted between May to July 2021, focused on the interlocking themes: Protect. Invest. Together. The episodes are designed to spark knowledge sharing, dialogue, and partnerships that generate value for countries in defining actions and strategies to sustain their responses and to put in place architectures that increase health security and systems capacity.

Protecting health and care workers means decent working conditions, occupational health and safety, promoting IPC practices… and so much more.

Episode 1 showcased experts from governments, labour unions, academia, CSOs and international organizations who shared lessons learnt on fair and safe working conditions, mental health, work organization, gender transformative action and other key issues.

  • Morning session recording: featuring Mr Sangay Thinley, Chief Human Resources Officer, Ministry of Health, Bhutan; Dr Anissa Bouasker, President of CAP (Psychological Assistance Cell for the victims of disaster) Présidente de la CAP Cellule d’Assistance Psychologique des victimes de catastrophes, Tunisia; and Mr Baba Aye, Health and Social Sector Officer, Public Services International
  • Afternoon session recording: featuring Mr Tchaa Kadjanta, Director, Human Resources for Health, Department, Ministry of Health, Togo; Mr Haroldo Pontes, Technical Advisor, National Council of Health Secretaries (CONASS), Brazil; Dr Iris Mwanza, Director, Community Health Roadmap; and Ms Manuela Tomei, Director of Conditions of Work and Equality, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Health Workforce Episode 1 scene-setting: Mr James Campbell, Director, Health Workforce

Episode 2: Invest

COVID-19 has underscored the urgent need to invest in health and care workers’ readiness, education and employment. A critical objective of the International Year of Health and Care Workers is to mobilize commitments from Member States, International Financing Institutions, bilateral and philanthropic partners to protect and invest in health and care workers to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs and COVID-19 recovery.

Episode 2 showcased experts from governments, international financing institutions, academia, and international organizations who shared lessons learnt and strategies on capitalizing on health workforce investments for shared dividends in health, jobs, economic opportunity and equity.

  • Morning session recording: featuring Ms Francesca Colombo, Head, Health Division, OECD; Prof Olive Shisana, President’s Special Advisor on Social Policy, South Africa; and Dr Rajani Ved, former Executive Director, National Health Systems Resource Centre, India
  • Afternoon session recording: featuring The Honourable Dr Sabahattin Aydin, Deputy Minister of Health, Republic of Turkey; Dr Mickey Chopra, Lead Health Specialist, Health Nutrition and Population, World Bank; Dr Elsheikh Badr, Chairperson, Strategy Office, Arab Board of Health Specializations
  • Health Workforce Episode 2 scene-setting: Mr James Campbell, Director, Health Workforce

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