Optimising the health workforce to combat NCDs and achieve UHC

24th September 2019

New, evidence-based policy report to enable an optimised health workforce launched by the NCD Alliance today, on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York.

24th September 2019, New York (USA) – The urgency, scale and impact of the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) epidemic on people’s health and on economies pose both unique challenges and opportunities for the design of health systems. Over 60% of people living with NCDs have experienced catastrophic health expenditure, and this is most concentrated among the poorest, most marginalised populations in all countries, who are all too often left behind. The growing burden of NCDs and population ageing will also generate demand for 40 million additional health workers globally by 2030, requiring the global health workforce to effectively double in order to meet the global goal of reducing premature mortality due to NCDs by a third by 2030.

The promise of health for all will ring hollow unless the projected global shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030 is addressed. Achieving an optimised health workforce will be key to both deliver on the health targets enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals and attain universal health coverage (UHC).

Timed to coincide with the first ever United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on UHC in September 2019, the report “Protecting Populations, Preserving Futures: Optimising the health workforce to combat NCDs and achieve UHCdeveloped by the NCD Alliance thanks to the support of Pfizer Upjohn, explores the optimal level of health workforce for NCDs across the continuum of care. Recognising the relevance of effective primary care in the delivery of NCD services and in the attainment of UHC, the report draws from best practice case studies across the continuum of care as observed in different regions to present existing and novel strategies for optimising the health workforce. It also depicts the main challenges and barriers faced by all countries, and notably, lower- and middle-income countries in their attempt to tackle the growing burden of NCDs in the context of significant, and in some cases dire, shortages in human resources for health.

 “Universal Health Coverage and the primary health care we all dream of cannot be delivered without an optimised health workforce. This report aims to contribute much needed evidence expertly gleaned from instructive success stories to inform the ongoing dialogue around health system strengthening and workforce responses to NCDs”, said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance.

“Around the world, the toll of NCDs is unprecedented; they pose a crisis for patients, public health and societies,” said Amrit Ray, M.D., Global President, Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer Upjohn. “Pfizer Upjohn is committed to relieving the burden of NCDs for patients, and we are honored to partner with the NCD Alliance to help advance this mission by building a strong health workforce that can effectively manage and prevent these devastating diseases”.