Health workers are central to improving health services, and attaining universal health coverage.
Health workers include physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and midwives, and also laboratory technicians, public health professionals, community health workers, and all other support workers who help deliver health services.
The Sustainable Development Goals have an explicit target on health workforce development: “to substantially increase the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States”.
In 2014, countries of the South-East Asia Region committed to a Decade of Strengthening Human Resources for Health, 2015 – 2024. This allows a long term perspective to be taken to address these challenges. It is reinforced by the new Global Health Workforce Strategy.
The first review of progress on the Decade of Strengthening Human Resources for Health was completed in 2016, covered these four areas. It will be repeated every two years.