PSI influencing United Nations policy on health employment

24 March 2016
Photo: Co-chairs of the UN  High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth - Copyright Laurent Cipriani
PSI gave evidence to the UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth in Lyon, France on 23 March. PSI argued that public spending on public health was both a government obligation to ensure universal access to health care and an investment in economic growth.

PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, has been appointed as a Commissioner on the UN CHEEG and said “The tragic consequences of the failures to invest in public health in Ebola affected West Africa reminds us that both the level of expenditure and the method of delivery matter for health outcomes. Public delivery is both more efficient and provides better health outcomes.”

The Commission is Co-Chaired by François Hollande, President of France and Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa who thanked PSI for their contributions, and the vice chairs are from the ILO, WHO and the OECD.

Daniel Bertossa, PSI Director of Policy, addressed the Commission saying “The goals of the UN will not be achieved without greater public investment. We need more health care workers, better trained and better supported if we are to deliver health care outcomes to those who need it. Huge increases in public sector investment could be achieved if the estimated USD 30 Trillion held in off shore tax havens was taxed to invest in universal public health care”.

PSI also reminded the commission that health care workers must have their trade union rights respected and the opportunity for collective bargaining and social dialogue. Decent Work for health care workers includes a living wage, protection from workplace violence and communicable diseases, access to ongoing education and training, sufficient breaks and safe shift lengths. PSI also raised the complex issues of health workforce migration and the drain on developing world skills.

PSI believes that these are all political decisions that must be addressed if the commendable objectives of the sustainable development goals are to be actually realised.

The Commissions main objectives are to propose actions to member states in regards to the health care workforce that will contribute to global inclusive economic growth, the creation of decent jobs and to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages. It noted the critical role women play in health care provision and the need for 40 million new jobs in the health sector by 2030, especially to address the shortage of 18 million health workers in the developing world by 2030 projected by the WHO.

Download a PDF of PSI's submission in English - French - Spanish

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