WCPT Europe representative addresses WHO regional meeting

Emma Stokes, WCPT Executive Committee member representing the European Region, attended the 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 2009.  She presented two statements, on health in a time of global crisis and health workforce policies.

In the first statement, she said that WCPT recognised the difficulties in managing health expenditure in the global economic crisis. WCPT advocated, she said, the provision of primary health care that was mindful of local cultural, socio-economic and political circumstances and provided equitable access for all to effective services. Emphasising the important role of physical therapists in primary health care, Emma Stokes said WCPT encouraged member states to seek the professional engagement of WCPT member organisations in the planning and implementation of their response to the global economic crisis.

In a second statement, she said that WCPT believed that physical therapists had the responsibility, through their national associations, to work with governments and other agencies of member states to contribute to national human resource planning in the area of health. “Such planning should aim to ensure a balance between demand and supply for physiotherapists and a balance between qualified physiotherapists and support personnel, to facilitate the best possible level of quality service/care for the community,” she said. “WCPT encourages member states to seek the professional engagement of their member organisation of WCPT in planning.”

She also informed the meeting that WCPT and other professional organisations were collaborating with the Global Health Workforce Alliance to undertake a campaign to improve work environments and aid in staff recruitment and retention through the development of positive practice environments (see www.wcpt.org/node/29151#PPE)

During the meeting, the delegates from the 53 WHO European Member States discussed: a declaration on protecting health in times of economic crisis; starting a discussion on the governance of health within the WHO European Region; and health workforce policies, including support for a global code of practice for international recruitment of health personnel.