The Case for Investing in Primary Health Care Workers

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November 9, 2023

A new report, released by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition today, co-authored by Beth Geoffroy, GAIA’s Director of Programs and Strategic Partnerships, emphasizes the importance of investing in primary healthcare workers. The report urges heads of state, donors, and other policymakers at UNGA78 to invest in health workers to reach global health goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Universal Health Coverage, climate resilience, and pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response. 

There are significant gaps in health workforce availability that cannot be solved solely by current government budgets and spending, especially in African countries. Supporting primary health care systems through funding the recruitment, training, and retention of frontline health workers, along with providing them opportunities for professional development, better infrastructure and working conditions, and more can improve global public health. It is critical to push for investment and financial support from international donors and the private sector, and to encourage local governments to increase or reallocate funding, prioritizing the health workforce. 

Investing in frontline and community health workers is a best bet investment with an up to 10:1 return on investment. These healthcare providers are the backbone of high-performing health systems - it is crucial that they are provided with the funding and opportunities needed to support local and global health initiatives. Such investments can take the form of increasing funding to expand health workforces, providing healthcare workers with professional development and growth opportunities, integrating community health workers into national health systems, and involving frontline health workers in decision making processes for national and global health initiatives. 

We encourage you to read the report to learn more about specific ways in which investing in nurses and community health workers provides economic returns and improves health outcomes, as well as policy recommendations on how to invest effectively in order to achieve universal health coverage and health equity. 

GAIA is a proud member of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition which advocates for urgent action to address the world’s most acute gaps in access to health workers. FHWC is an alliance of United States-based and international organizations advocating for greater and more strategic investment in frontline health workers in low- and middle-income countries as a cost-effective way to save lives and foster a healthier, safer, and more prosperous world.

Read the Full Report
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