Two international conferences explore the issue of human resources for global health: 'resourcing global health' and 'mobilising the African diaspora' were topics that drew worldwide attendance to Glasgow, Scotland, and London, England.

Resourcing Global Health

The World Health Organization's Global Network of Collaborating Centres (WHOCCs) for Nursing and Midwifery Development organised this conference, June 7-9, in partnership with the WHOCC at Glasgow Caledonian University's School of Nursing Midwifery & Community Health and the UK's Royal Colleges of Midwifery and Nursing.

Professor Barbara Parfitt, Dean of the School, and Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the university, welcomed attenders to the university, with Professor Gillies exploring the roles of legislation, health education, community intervention and the concept of social capital in relation to the conference theme.

Minister of Health for Scotland Andrew Kerr and Chief Nursing Officer Paul Martin followed with a welcome to Scotland, and Paul Martin gave a useful analysis of 'driving forces' and 'workforce challenges', recommending an examination of health needs, health systems and national context among the forces, and staffing numbers, skill mix, distribution and working conditions among the challenges.

Dr Manuel Dayrit, Director of Human Resources at WHO, began by quoting the late WHO Director General's call for 'access to a motivated, skilled and supported health worker for every person' and then brought the global situation into perspective with data from around the world and a reminder of messages from the World Health Report. He warned that the good work being carried out around entry to the professions--workforce planning, education and recruitment--can be eroded by loss of staff via many routes including attrition during training, change of career choice, migration, fears around safety, retirement, sickness and death from epidemics such as AIDS.

Karlene Davis of the Royal College of Midwives and ICM President reported on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, which she saw as a depressing picture in some countries. For a pregnant woman to gain access to care, she needs knowledge of where care is available and what it offers; transport to get there; money to pay the fee; and a state of health good enough to travel. Poverty, sickness, lack of education and poor infrastructure form multiple barriers to access. She highlighted the new ICM position statement on 'The midwife as first-choice health professional for childbearing women' and reiterated ICM's goal of access to a midwife for every woman.

ICM's Nester T Moyo gave an inspiring presentation, 'Developing the...

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