International Health – Volume 9, Issue 1 1 January 2017

International Health
Volume 9, Issue 1 1 January 2017

Sustainable development goals and the human resources crisis
Joseph Freer

Achieving universal health coverage by 2030 requires that lessons from the Millennium Development Goals must be heeded. The most important lesson is that the workforce underpins every function of the health system, and is the rate-limiting step. The three dimensions that continue to limit the success of the development agenda are availability, distribution and performance of health workers – and the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without addressing all three. Hence, the traditional response of scaling up supply is inadequate: a paradigm shift is required in the design of systems that can properly identify, train, allocate and retain health workers.