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HomeBreaking NewsUniversal Health Coverage: Think of Health Workers, not just Health Services

Universal Health Coverage: Think of Health Workers, not just Health Services

'Quick read' news summary

WASHINGTON DC/ CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA/ GENEVA, Dec 19 (IPS) – Health services don’t deliver themselves. It is the nurse who triages in the emergency department, the midwife who delivers babies and cares for mothers, the community health worker who gives babies vaccines, the care assistant who bathes someone at home, the surgeon who performs the operation, the anesthetist who blocks the pain, the pharmacist who matches the script to the medication, and the physiotherapist who restores movement.

Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December is the annual rallying point for the growing movement for health for all. It marks the anniversary of the United Nations’ historic and unanimous endorsement of universal health coverage in 2012.

With Universal Health Coverage Day (December 12) just behind us, it is critical to recognize the contribution of health workers, most of whom are women, and call for political leaders to urgently recognize and address the escalating resignations, shortfalls, and staff movements putting health security at all levels, from local to global at risk.

Listening to organizations who represent frontline health workers, community health workers, nurses, family doctors, and health professionals, we hear that after nearly three years of a pandemic there is worker burnout, staff shortages, migration of health workers, increasing reports of danger and violence at work, and rising mental health concerns.

Taken together, there are four alarming trends currently affecting health workers’ ability to deliver health services for all and hindering our advancement towards UHC.

WHO figures released in April this year estimated a projected global shortage of 10 million health workers in 2030 based on current trends (mostly depicting a pre-COVID-19 situation). Since then, in the US alone, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics now estimates that more than 200,000 registered nurse positions are projected to be vacant annually over the next

WASHINGTON DC/ CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA/ GENEVA, Dec 19 (IPS) - Health services don’t deliver themselves. Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December is the annual rallying point for the growing movement for health for all. With Universal Health Coverage Day (December 12) just behind us, it is critical to recognize the contribution of health workers, most of whom are women, and call for political leaders to urgently recognize and address the escalating resignations, shortfalls, and staff movements putting health security at all levels, from local to global at risk.

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