Fresh from the first meeting of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth in Lyon, France where she attended as a commissioner, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday urged the deployment of more women health workers to underserved areas, particularly in low-income developing countries, including the Philippines.
“The UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth during its first meeting correctly observed that ‘health and social workers are primarily women, and productive and rewarding jobs in this sector will contribute to empowering women and to achieving inclusive, sustainable growth’”, said Baldoz, citing the UN body’s communique after its first meeting.
“I, therefore, urge for the deployment of more women health workers to underserved areas, particularly in low-income developing countries, including the Philippines, as this will contribute not only to gender equality—one of the 2030 Social Development Goals—but also empower more women into participating economically to achieve inclusive, sustainable growth,” she explained at the first quarter of 2016 DOLE Kapihan at Balitaan at the Midas Hotel in Roxas Boulevard yesterday.
Baldoz, further citing the communique, said the UN High Level Commission recognizes that full and productive employment and decent work conditions contribute to overall goal of eliminating poverty and addressing inequality.
Chaired by President of South Africa, H.E. Jacob Zuma and President of France, H.E. François Hollande, and co-chaired by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, the UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, together with its 25 commissioners who include Secretary Baldoz, faces the daunting task of finding innovative ways to address health labour shortages and ensure a good match between the skills of health workers and job requirements, so as to foster efficiency of the health sector and its contribution to inclusive growth.
This shortage, as projected by the WHO, is estimated to reach 18 million health workers by 2030, primarily in developing countries.
On the other side of the equation, Baldoz said the World Bank estimates around 40 million new jobs in the health sector by 2030, and Baldoz said here lie the collective challenge of balancing this demand with supply in both the developed and the developing countries.
“Nations around the globe need to work together and help each other steer the economic demand to address the shortages that threaten both public health and many economies.”
In the Philippines where universal health coverage stands at 84 percent, Baldoz said the target should be a 100 percent coverage and this could be achieved through wise resource allocation and the deployment of more women health workers to underserved regions, such as those in Mindanao where peace and order problems pose risks to health workers.
“The administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III has laid down the building blocks of reforms in social services, such as health and education. We must be committed to continue building on these reforms to finally attain economic prosperity and ensure that every Filipino enjoys the right to health,” she said.
She said that the DOLE, as part of the Philippine Human Resource for Health Network, will be actively pursuing an agenda of creating more decent jobs in the health sector this year and the next.
“I have already instructed the Bureau of Local Employment to work with the Professional Regulation Commission and its health-related boards, as well as with the Philippine Human Resource for Health Network, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and all our social partners to formulate a Human Resource Development Roadmap for the health sector as part of the 22 HRD Roadmaps we have already drafted,” she finally said.