The African continent shoulders a quarter of the global burden of disease and faces more than 100 health emergencies per year, yet currently holds only four percent of the total share of the global health workforce. An estimated 5.3 million health workers will be needed in Africa to achieve the relevant Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
In response to this challenge, today at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the U.S. government’s commitment, through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Global Health Worker Initiative, to align U.S. investments with country needs and work strategically in coordination with African and international partner to reduce health workforce gaps in Africa.
This U.S. commitment aligns with several regional initiatives and goals established by regional stakeholders, including the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, the African Union, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. These initiatives reflect our shared health objectives and the broad range of health workforce functions and needs, including preventive services, health care services, and emergency preparedness and response. The Global Health Workers Initiative recognizes a robust global health workforce is integral to providing essential health services, meeting public health needs, and reaching global health goals. It will also be critical for reclaiming lost ground in global life expectancy, preventable mortality, and economic development in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in building health system resiliency and preparedness for the future.
USAID looks forward to furthering this commitment by leveraging and coordinating with the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and all other relevant global health programs that rely on a robust health workforce.