The health workforce is central to managing and delivering health services in all countries. The ability of health systems to perform well and respond appropriately to the new challenges they face is strongly influenced by the availability of health workers with relevant skills, in sufficient numbers, located where they are needed, and working in an environment that motivates and engages them.
Recent global and regional efforts and the World Health Report 2006 have reiterated the urgency and importance of addressing health workforce challenges such as shortages, imbalances, mismatch between education models and health needs, and productivity concerns. In this respect, strengthening the workforce is thus essential to ensuring that health systems can achieve national and global health goals. It is critically important that states develop policies that will ensure availability of enough health workers with the relevant skill-mix, competencies and motivation to provide health services to their populations.
Building on the momentum created by various initiatives within the health workforce, the World Health Organization is undertaking actions which aim at enabling countries to move forward with developing concrete national health workforce policies and strategies.
WHO/Europe supports its Member States in responding to the challenges by focusing on the vital areas of health workforce education and training, migration and retention, and performance and management.