|“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.
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.