Far from a healthy Health Workforce: lack of workforce planning leaves our citizens without access to proper care

Stijntje Dijk

Stijntje Dijk is Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues at IFMSA.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Stijntje Dijk, Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues at the International Federation of Medical  Students’ Associations (IFMSA).

We write to you today as the representatives of medical students worldwide to express our deep concern for the access to healthcare as well as the wellbeing of our future patients, together with our hopefulness for a solution. The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), representing 1.3 million medical students worldwide, believes that a global strategy is needed to coordinate the development of human resources for health worldwide, and more than that, we need to ensure its implementation.

Ensuring healthy lives of our population is one of our region’s highest concerns. Yet, without enough healthcare workers with the right set of skills, this cannot be accomplished. Europe is currently facing many challenges, the importance of which is reflected by the creation of a Joint Action of the European Commission dedicated to solely this issue. Estimates from WHO and the World Bank identify one of the major challenges to attaining universal health coverage is the projected global deficit of nearly 18 million health workers by 2030, a shortfall of around 1 million healthcare workers (13.8%) in the EU by 2020.

However, although numbers of health workers seem to be the major focus to many governments, our major concerns lie in lacking quality of education and workforce planning. Rapid and uncontrolled scale ups of the numbers of health professionals in training is increasing each day within our region, and many faculty don’t live up to the World Federation for Medical Education global standards in medical education. Without proper education quality oversight, this will lead to unqualified health professionals, and, therefore, poor health care services. Furthermore, without proper health workforce planning mechanisms, there might even be enough health workers with the right skills, but not spread according to the populations or health system’s needs as specialization or geographical distribution within or between countries, where they are needed the most.

It takes much time to fully educate a healthcare worker, in many European countries it takes between 5-7 years to become a basic medical doctor, followed by an additional time of specialization (from 3 to 6 years). Therefore, the time to act is now, and not when the situation is even more critical and unsustainable.

In order to achieve the health workforce we need and that our communities deserve, we need international/regional strategies and national implementation, that aim to ensure quality of education and workforce planning, and regulation of retention and recruitment.

We need the involvement of all stakeholders including government, civil society organizations, health worker organizations, students, educational institutions and patient organizations to work together to identify and tackle the challenges ahead.

We as the future health workforce commit to our responsibilities to positively impact the communities that we serve and will serve in the future, and ask all those with a political voice to do the same. We are calling for the adoption of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030, and we are calling for our government’s commitment to implement national strategies to ensure the health of our health workforce.

About the author

Stijntje Dijk

Stijntje Dijk is Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues at IFMSA.

Stijntje Dijk serves for the second term as IFMSA Liaison Officer for Medical Education issues. The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations unites medical students worldwide to lead initiatives that impact positively the communities we serve. IFMSA represents the opinions and ideas of future medical professionals in the field of global health, and connects and engages with 1.3 million medical students from 116 countries across the globe.  Stijntje is a medical student from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Africa: Urgent action needed to mobilise domestic resources as tax revenues plateau

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

Fair minimum wages: Commission launches second-stage consultation of social partners

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

Don’t underestimate the power of the fintech revolution

EP President at the European Youth Event: “Your ideas are key in shaping EU’s future”

A day in the life of a refugee: why should we care?

Is there a way out of the next financial crisis? Can more printed money or austerity save us all?

Palliative care and Universal Health Care

Greece bailout programme: Full agreement after marathon negotiations on debt relief between IMF and Eurozone

UN Committee says Ebola in DR Congo still an international public health emergency

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs more arts graduates

The UK referendum has already damaged Europe: even a ‘remain’ result is not without cost to Britain and the EU

GSMA & UNDP announce an ‘Impact Partnership’ Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals at MWC Barcelona 2021

5 inventions that could transform the health of our ocean

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

Distributed ownership: what it means and how it could transform India

Contact the Sting

‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

Hungary’s emergency measures: MEPs ask EU to impose sanctions and stop payments

Antimicrobial resistance: how can an intersectoral approach between society and healthcare professionals be developed and applied?

A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

UN rights chief welcomes new text to protect rights of peasants and other rural workers

Will we join hands for a tomorrow without antimicrobial resistance?

Coronavirus: Commission proposes €6.8 million in total to support 1,700 dismissed workers of air carriers KLM and Finnair

G20 LIVE: G20 leaders reaffirm OECD’s role in ensuring strong, sustainable and inclusive growth

US cities are going to keep getting hotter

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

Trump’s blasting win causes uncertainty and turbulence to the global financial markets

‘Comprehensively include migrants’ or sustainable development won’t happen, warns General Assembly President

Rise in number of children killed, maimed and recruited in conflict: UN report

Improving coverage of mental health services

‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats prompts UN concern for future sea operations

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

Monday’s Daily Brief: drug-resistant diseases, Venezuelan refugees, fighting in Tripoli, and hate speech

UN Forum examines three pillars of 2030 Global Goals

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

Digital education is both a necessity and an advantage for the Global South. Here’s why

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

‘More support’ vital to put Afghanistan back on a ‘positive trajectory’ – top UN officials

Germany hides its own banks’ problems

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

COVID-19: latest on evaluation and authorisation of vaccines

Coronavirus has ‘pandemic potential’ – but what is a pandemic?

What Thailand can teach us about mental health

Final vote on European Solidarity Corps

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

Financial services: Commission sets out its equivalence policy with non-EU countries

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

An U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic: Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now, and Building Back Better Health Security

Antitrust: Commission publishes report on implementation of Damages Directive

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

Next six months crucial for the EU, says von der Leyen at the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU

Further reforms in Japan needed to meet the challenges of population ageing and high public debt

Delivering masks across borders: EU Single Market protecting citizens’ health

Training for staff in early childhood education and care must promote practices that foster children’s learning, development and well-being

Changing the EU copyright law won’t bring us much closer to Digital Single Market

Mergers: Commission waives the commitments made by Takeda to obtain clearance of its acquisition of Shire

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: