Regulated health professionals are key to meeting commitments made in the Astana Declaration

WCPT, as part of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), has welcomed the strong emphasis to strengthen health care systems and support the global health workforce set out in the Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care: From Alma-Ata towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In October the second Global Conference on Primary Health Care took place in Astana, Kazakhstan. The conference was designed to reaffirm the principles of the Declaration of Alma-Ata which was signed 40 years ago. WHPA believes the Astana declaration provides an opportunity for states to increase their efforts in developing health systems while ensuring there is adequate support for health care professionals.

Regulated health professionals, like physical therapists, play an important role in achieving universal health coverage. The global economy is projected to create around 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030; mostly in middle- and high- income countries. Despite the anticipated growth in jobs there will be a projected shortage of 18 million health workers to achieve and sustain sustainable development goals, primarily in low and lower-middle income countries.

Jonathon Kruger, WCPT Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘Healthcare systems must meet people’s individual and total health needs. Physical therapists are well-placed to deliver this holistic, people-centred approach and can respond to people’s complex needs, rather than solely performing limited, defined tasks.

‘It’s important that healthcare systems and programmes are implemented in a way that doesn’t lead to inefficient, confusing, disconnected, and parallel services. This would be detrimental to people’s care and the healthcare system and would also lead to demotivation and high attrition rates of both regulated health professionals and unregulated workers.

WHPA has offered its expertise and assistance to the WHO and individual states for the development of recommendations and guidelines to effectively incorporate unregulated health workers into health systems.

WHPA speaks for more than 31 million health professionals across 130 countries and brings together the International Council of Nurses, International Pharmaceutical Federation, World Confederation for Physical Therapy, FDI World Dental Federation and the World Medical Association. WHPA works to improve global health and the quality of health services and facilitates collaboration among the health professions and other major stakeholders.

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