Press Release

Dublin hosts Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health ( is being held in Dublin from November 14 -17, 2017, at the RDS Dublin. The Forum is convened by the Department of Health, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the World Health Organization, Trinity College Dublin, the Health Service Executive, and Global Health Workforce Network.

Under the theme ‘Building the health workforce of the future’, over 1,000 delegates will discuss and debate innovative approaches to avert the health workforce challenge, including retention, training and migration, decent work and rights, and shaping increasing demand for additional health and social workforce jobs.

Minister Harris will deliver the Opening Address at the Forum next Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the Opening of the Forum the Minister said, ‘Ireland is honoured to host this 4th Global Forum, – the first to be held in Europe. The attendance of so many delegates from across the globe demonstrates the importance of this event and highlights that the Human Resources for Health agenda transcends geographical and political borders. Tackling 21st Century health workforce challenges requires us to think, work and respond nationally, regionally and globally.’

Internationally, investment in health is not only the right thing to do – it also makes sense. Around one quarter of economic growth in low and middle income countries between 2000 and 2011 is estimated to have resulted from the value of improvements to health. Investment in health enhances inclusive economic growth and the returns on investment in health are estimated to be $9 for every $1 invested.

Attendees of the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will include senior government officials from across the globe. They will be joined by representatives from UN organisations, development agencies, non-governmental organisations, including faith-based organisations, civil society representatives, academic and research institutions and health workers.

The structure of the Forum includes high-level plenaries centring on key health workforce themes, including issues relevant to the Irish medical workforce such as international recruitment, staff retention, training and migration. The Forum will result in a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder commitment to improved governance, strategic investments and financing for an effective, performing and sustainable workforce through the Dublin Declaration.


Note to Editors

According to WHO and World Bank projections, the world is heading towards a shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, threatening efforts to achieve health and wellbeing for all.

The Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health personnel is a key instrument in this area. The Code, which was established by the World Health Assembly in 2010, establishes and promotes voluntary practices for the ethical international recruitment of health personnel. It requires countries to implement effective health workforce planning, education, training and retention strategies to sustain a health workforce that is appropriate for the specific conditions of each country.

The launch of Ireland’s National Strategic Framework for Health and Social Care Workforce Planning at the Global Forum is a major step in addressing our health workforce challenges.

The objective of the framework is to align our workforce planning systems both vertically and horizontally in order to identify, agree and implement appropriate solutions to health workforce challenges – either within the health sector or inter-sectorally with education and other partners. This Framework will support the recruitment and retention of the right mix of health workers across the Irish health system to meet planned and projected service need.

As well as our efforts to meet workforce challenges domestically, Ireland’s development cooperation programme is committed to achieving universal health coverage internationally. A quality, well-trained, motivated and adequately financed health workforce is critical to achieve universal health coverage

Human Resources for Health is an issue that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have long been working to address through their development cooperation programme. The health aspect of the development cooperation programme, or Irish Aid as it’s more commonly known, focuses on supporting partner countries to achieve universal health coverage.

An example of the work that Irish Aid supports is the partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). This partnership supports the training and retention of surgeons to increase the quality and availability of essential surgical care in the Eastern, Central and Southern regions in Africa. Currently an estimated 93% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care when needed. This causes immense suffering, disability and death, and the partnership with RCSI and COSECSA is working to alleviate this. 96% of the COSECSA graduates are in full time employment, and 87% of indigenously trained surgeons remain in the COSECSA region.

In Ethiopia, Ireland supports the training and roll-out of Health Extension Workers who are the backbone of the community based Health Extension Programme in Ethiopia, delivering quality basic health services to the communities they serve.