Continuing Lack of Critical Caregivers Requires Focused Action
Washington, DC (19 September 2023) – Africa and the eastern Mediterranean continue to face a dramatic gap in the number of health workers that requires concerted attention. Project HOPE – the global health and humanitarian aid organization – is working with partners across Africa to address this need. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank’s Universal Health Care Global Monitoring Report released on September 18, 4.5 billion people – about half the world’s population – was not covered by essential health services as of 2021. Further, in 2019 alone, two billion people, including 344 million living in extreme poverty, faced financial hardship from out-of-pocket health expenses.
Low-Income Countries (LICs) and Lower-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) have witnessed significant advancements in the health service coverage composite index. However, they have also experienced the most substantial increases in catastrophic out-of-pocket health spending, which is increasing the rate at which people are being pushed further into relative poverty in LMICs. Focused action including training, policy changes, and funding is needed to close the widening gap between low-income countries and better resourced countries.
“The gap in the need for health workers demands attention. Building the health workforce cannot continue to be an afterthought in global health development efforts. Health workers must become a focus of their own or our investments in HIV, TB, malaria or global health security won’t be sustained,” said Jed Meline, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Project HOPE. “The global community must prioritize efforts to support healthcare workforce development, especially in areas where the need is most acute.”
Achieving Universal Health Coverage is becoming increasingly difficult, with the path forward requiring a fundamental shift towards prioritizing primary healthcare systems. Project HOPE remains committed to working collaboratively with policymakers, governments, local organizations, and communities worldwide to address these disparities by training health workers globally to adequately serve communities that lack quality and accessible health services.
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About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in nearly 30 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.