Global perspective Human stories

Health-care workers, the ‘true lifesavers,’ must be supported – Ban Ki-moon

Health-care workers, the ‘true lifesavers,’ must be supported – Ban Ki-moon

The time has come to focus on supporting and retaining health workers – “the true lifesavers in the society of every nation”– Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the first-ever world forum on the topic, which convened in Kampala, Uganda, today.

“Almost 60 countries – most of them in Africa – face such critical shortages of health workers that they cannot provide basic health care to all their people,” Mr. Ban said at the Global Forum for Human Resources in Health, which expects over 1,000 government leaders and experts to meet under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In his statement to the gathering, Mr. Ban emphasized the crucial part that health care plays in economic development and in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to reduce extreme poverty and other global ills by 2015.

“I appreciate that the issues are complex,” he said, maintaining that the crisis in the world’s health workforce requires different stakeholders to take action in a range of areas – migration, development, education, finance and more.

However, he pointed to renewed momentum throughout the international community to tackle large challenges in health care, as well as advances in knowledge.

“We have the resources and the know-how,” he concluded: “Let us work together, with coherent and coordinated action, to translate commitments into protected livelihoods and saved lives.”

The first Global Forum for Human Resources in Health will run through 7 March.