“We (Youth) are the backbone of the future and leaders of tomorrow. Through active participation, we are empowered to play a vital role in youth development and in our communities,” proclaims the Youth​ ​Call​ ​for​ ​Action developed and shared by young global health leaders at the recent Global Forum on Human Resources for Health held recently in Dublin, Ireland.

Delivering the call on behalf of young professionals at the closing plenary for the Global Forum on Human Resources for Health was Dr. Isabel Kazanga, a Public Health professional and Lecturer in the Department of Health Systems and Policy at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi.

Isabel is an Emerging Voice for Global Health (EV4GH). EV4GH is a training program for young, promising and emerging professionals aimed at empowering them to become influential global health voices.edicine, University of Malawi.

 Picture 1

The global youth call of action emphasizes​ ​that​ ​youth, ​ ​being​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​largest​ ​global​ ​demographic​ ​groups,​ ​are​ ​an​ ​essential​ ​agent of​ ​positive​ ​change​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world. It fully​ ​affirms​ ​that​ ​the youths​ ​are​ ​an​ ​asset​ ​for​ ​achieving​ ​the​ ​2030​ ​agenda​ ​on​ ​sustainable​ ​development, and​ ​express​ ​deep​ ​concern​ ​about​ ​the​ ​magnitude​ ​and​ ​disproportionate​ ​effect​ ​of​ ​youth unemployment​ ​and​ ​underemployment​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​their​ ​social​ ​and​ ​societal implications.

The youth call for action acknowledges that​ ​with​ ​1.8​ ​billion​ ​people​ ​between​ ​the​ ​ages​ ​of​ ​10​ ​and​ ​24​ ​living​ ​mostly​ ​in​ ​low-​ ​and middle-​ ​income​ ​countries,​ ​the​ ​world​ ​has​ ​more​ ​young​ ​people​ ​than​ ​ever​ ​before,​ ​creating unparalleled​ ​potential​ ​economic​ ​and​ ​social​ ​progress.​ ​This​ ​presents​ ​an​ ​unprecedented​ ​window​ ​of opportunity;​ ​a​ ​demographic​ ​dividend​ ​through​ ​youth.

The call for action further acknowledges that  ​the​ ​global​ ​health​ ​landscape​ ​is​ ​changing​ ​at​ ​a​ ​rapid​ ​pace and​ ​is​ ​facing​ ​new​ ​challenges with​ ​an​ ​ageing​ ​population,​ ​non-communicable​ ​diseases, antimicrobial​ ​resistance, new​ ​emerging infectious​ ​diseases,​ ​environmental​ ​instability,​ ​international​ ​conflicts,​ ​protracted​ ​crises and suboptimal​ ​working​ ​conditions.​ ​In​ ​this​ ​context,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​highly​ ​important​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​that​ ​the​ ​health workforce​ ​is​ ​prepared​ ​to​ ​respond​ ​to​ ​and​ ​adapt​ ​to​ ​future​ ​needs.

The call for action highlights​ ​the​ ​potential​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​and​ ​innovation​ ​to​ ​exponentially​ ​revolutionize​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of society, ​ ​especially​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​the​ ​health​ ​care​ ​delivery. ​ ​​ ​As​ ​the​ ​future​ ​of​ ​the​ ​health​ ​workforce, ​ ​the youth pledge​ ​to​ ​foster​ ​technological​ ​innovation​ ​as​ ​a​ ​crucial​ ​component​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​the​ ​health​ ​sector.

Further​ ​emphasis was placed on the fact that​ the health​ ​sector​ ​is​ ​an​ ​excellent​ ​arena​ ​for​ entrepreneurship ​where​ ​youth​ are ​not​ ​only​ job ​seekers​, ​ ​but​ should ​also​ ​create​ jobs and ​economic​​ ​opportunities, ​ ​design​ ​models​ ​that​ ​provide​ ​better​ ​livelihoods​ ​and​ ​maximize​ ​public gains, ​ ​and​ ​bring​ ​out​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​power​ ​of​ ​citizens​ ​to​ ​solve​ ​health​ ​problems​ ​through​ ​social business.

The call for action advocates ​that​ ​national​ ​policies​ ​should​ ​address​ ​the​ ​dynamics​ ​of​ ​the​ ​health​ ​labor​ ​market,​ ​and acknowledge​ ​that​ ​scaling​ ​up​ ​the​ ​health​ ​workforce​ ​to​ ​achieve​ ​universal​ ​health​ ​coverage​ ​will require​ ​a​ ​comprehensive​ ​plan​ ​of​ ​action​ ​that​ ​takes​ ​into​ ​account​ ​education,​ ​employment​​, migration,​ ​social​ ​and​ ​economic​ ​conditions ​and​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​increased​ ​and​ ​sustainable investments​ ​in​ ​healthcare.

The global youth call for action urges​​ ​governments​ ​and​ ​key ​stakeholders​ ​to​ ​position​ ​decent​ ​work​ ​in​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of​ ​the​ ​health workforce​ ​policy​ ​making,​ ​and​ ​emphasize​ ​that​ ​decent​ ​work​ ​with​ ​fair​ ​wages​ ​is​ ​a​ ​human​ ​right​ ​and that​ ​health​ ​workers​ ​are​ ​not​ ​simply​ ​head​ ​counts;​ ​they​ ​are​ ​people​ ​with​ ​rights,​ ​roles​ ​and responsibilities.​ ​The youth​ ​further​ ​affirm​ ​that​ ​violence​ ​against​ ​health​ ​workers​ ​is​ ​unacceptable​ ​in​ ​all​ ​its forms,​ ​including​ ​gender​ ​based​ ​violence​ ​and​ ​that​​ ​health​ ​workers​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​protection​ ​from​ ​violence​ ​and​ ​coercion​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as occupational​ ​risks​ ​and​ ​hazards.