Global Fund Hails Launch of Africa Health Workforce Investment Charter

06 May 2024

WINDHOEK – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), warmly welcomes the launch of the Africa Health Workforce Investment Charter, which was signed today in Windhoek, Namibia, at the Africa Health Workforce Investment Forum.

The African continent bears a quarter of the global disease burden and endures over 100 health emergencies a year. Yet half of the global shortage in health workers affects the continent, which has only 4% of the global workforce. To date, 1 in 3 qualified health workers in Africa is unemployed or underemployed, given challenging macro-economic contexts, imbalances in health labor markets, unfavorable working conditions in health, and safeguarding and security risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that its African Region (47 countries) will face an estimated shortfall of 5.3 million health workers by 2030.

The Charter – developed by WHO in collaboration with African Member States, the Global Fund and other partners – sets out core principles aimed at stimulating and aligning sustainable long-term investment in health workforce education and employment creation around a common national investment plan, rooted in solid analysis like the health labor market analysis. This will reduce duplication and potential inefficiencies, and, in turn, help mobilize additional resources countries need to progress towards universal health coverage and the delivery of an essential health package. The main objective is to cut health worker shortages by half in African countries by 2030.

“The launch of the Africa Health Workforce Investment Charter is a significant milestone for the African continent and for all investors in the health workforce, and we are proud to have supported its development and signed it,” said Shunsuke Mabuchi, Head of Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health and Pandemic Preparedness and Response at the Global Fund. “We commend our partners’ strong endorsement of the health workforce principles and actions enshrined in the Charter, and we look forward to supporting its implementation.”

The Global Fund has consistently invested in human resources for health (HRH), with funding allocated to this area representing the largest share of health and community systems investments across funding cycles. Over the 2024-2026 period, the Global Fund is investing US$1.9 billion in HRH – including US$1.3 billion in Africa, with almost 60% of this amount allocated to the remuneration of the health workforce. This support spans different areas that are aligned to country strategies and plans. We are currently supporting 16 African countries to advance HRH strategic planning processes and dialogue to progressively shift from vertical HRH support to integrated workforce planning, with a focus on primary health care workforce development. This also includes support and engagement in health labor market analysis and other HRH analyses. Our support to education in Africa, including pre-service training, reached US$12 million in the current cycle, a major area of growth compared to the previous cycles. We are supporting innovative ways to deliver workforce training and development, promoting digitalization, rationalization and accreditation training courses.  

In the current 2024-2026 period, about half of the Global Fund’s total investments in HRH in Africa – US$634 million – specifically support community health workers. This represents 70% of the global investment in community health workers. Aligned with national plans, these investments enable community health workers to be trained, remunerated, equipped, supervised, counted and protected, and to be fully integrated in primary health care teams. We also provide funding for advocacy efforts aimed at securing legal protection and recognition for community health workers, with the goal of ensuring they receive the appropriate pay and working conditions they deserve.

The Global Fund supports the Monrovia Call to Action, which advocates for the professionalization of community health workers, and the Lusaka Agenda, which calls for more investments to strengthen resilient health systems, including at the community level.


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