WHO: 55 countries face a health worker crunch linked to COVID-19 (3) Health services need to focus more on the needs of health workers

16 March, 2023

I see this partly as a failure of all countries to meet the basic needs of their health workers. Health workers worldwide feel unsupported by their governments. This week junior doctors are on strike in the UK, just as they have been (and will continue to be) in many Global South countries. Same with other health workers.

There is much emphasis on ‘patient-centred’ health services. But I believe health services need to be equally and explicitly ‘health-worker-centred’. Everything should be done to empower health workers to deliver quality health care. Governments should be working with health workers to understand what they need to deliver quality care, and progress towards meeting those needs should be measured.

One way of categorising such needs is the acronym SEISMIC.

Skills, Equipment, Information, Systems, Medicines, Incentives, Communication facilities.

The HIFA campaign focuses on the Information needs of healthcare workers, but clearly the full range of needs must be met to empower healthcare providers to deliver high quality care.


What do you think?

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: neil@hifa.org