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Galvanizing Commitment to Universal Health Coverage - Results from the 3rd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH)

Abstract / Summary: 
It isn’t often that one gets two conferences in one; but the well-attended pre-conference side sessions at the Third Global Forum on HRH held in Recife, Brazil provided such an opportunity. The topic of particular interest to me was how support for community health workers (CHWs) and primary health care (PHC) systems could be better coordinated to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, scale up access to PHC and finally move toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The session, attended by many countries and diverse donors, partners and NGOs, institutes and CHWs provided a global opportunity to analyze the meaning and impact of collaboration.
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Health Systems and Human Resources for Health: 
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Selected extracts: 

Growing awareness that lack of harmony in approaches by donors, research institutes, international NGOs and private corporations causes fragmentation, duplication and service gaps have made the development community reconsider how to provide support and optimize the contribution of CHWs. Most disturbing is that many countries still undervalue this community-focused cadre and have yet to integrate CHWs into the national health system.

So in preparation for Recife, the Global Health Workforce Alliance commissioned three papers that laid out a plan for one national strategy, one lead national authority and one monitoring and accountability platform. This synchronization will hopefully foster partner harmonization and needs-based global research, bringing us closer to UHC. The audience had little disagreement with the concept, but the discussion was punctuated with comments on how and by whom this would be implemented. The final outcome is a CHW Framework for Partner Action (link is external)and signed commitments to adhere to the following broad principles:

1. Work together to adapt, apply and implement the Framework, fostering harmonization and synergies, accountability and joint action on knowledge gaps and reaching out to all stakeholders engaged with CHW programs
2. Advocate, endorse and apply the Framework’s principles and processes
3. Promote the culture of self and mutual monitoring and accountability of commitments and plans
4. Reciprocally respond to knowledge gaps and promote a coordinated response to needs-based research on CHWs.

CHW Central
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