The Recife Political Declaration on Human Resources for Health

Renewed commitments towards universal health coverage

The largest ever forum focussing on health workers and global health has concluded with a series of renewed commitments that will ensure more countries move with greater speed towards the goal of universal health coverage.

The commitments, both at the global and national level, harness political leadership on human resources for health - an area of public health often left sidelined on international development agendas - to the extent that real and lasting impact will be felt both by those on the frontline of delivering health care, as well as those on the receiving end.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation as well as Executive Director a.i. of the Global health Workforce Alliance, welcomed the formal adoption of the commitments in the 'Recife Declaration' on the final day of the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for health in Recife in Brazil.

"The achievements delivered for the world to see in the Recife Declaration should not be underestimated. We are entering a new era in human resource for health," said Dr Kieny. "Country after country has outlined actions that will ultimately transform and improve the landscape for health workers, and prioritize their needs in a world with ever growing demands being placed on them."

"WHO will work closely with Member States, with partners, and with civil society to track and monitor progress on the commitments, as well as provide support where necessary. Challenges exist, but so now does the energy and momentum to overcome those obstacles."

Measures listed in the declaration are multiple and all of critical and equal importance. Some are linked to increasing financial resources while others focus on improving the use of existing resources through improved governance, improved management and performance, tasks sharing, better equality and accessibility, improved training and better distribution and retention of existing staff. It emphasizes the importance of strengthening HRH information systems, adopting innovative solutions and investing in research. Each country will have to take appropriate measures according to its own situation, keeping in mind that funding is only one part of the problem.

The forum was the largest ever on human resources for health with more than 2000 participants from 93 Member States representing various constituencies, academia, professional associations and civil society.

"In addition to the contributions from the participants who provided valuable insight during high-level roundtables and parallel track sessions, I'd also like to thank the Government of Brazil for hosting this landmark event, and for their leadership and guidance in steering the forum to a successful conclusion," added Dr Kieny.