Launch of the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth report "Working for Health and Growth"


Closing remarks by Angel Gurría,

OECD Secretary-General

New York, 20 September 2016

(As prepared for delivery)



Dear President Hollande, President Zuma, Director General Chan, Director General Ryder, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen:


In Lyon and New York, we charted a comprehensive agenda for action for better investment in the health workforce. The release of Working for Health and Growth: Investing in the Health Workforce is a milestone in our common quest to create the right health jobs, with the right skills, in the right places.


We agreed to invest in transforming the health workforce. Health workers are the lifeline of our health systems. But mismatches in skills and geographical distribution, failure to capitalise on technological progress and innovation, and health worker shortages are impeding fair access to affordable, high‑quality health services. Without urgent action, we not only risk endangering health outcomes, but also undermining our efforts to achieve the SDGs and more inclusive growth. These are costs we can no longer afford.


We agreed on how to move forward. The report we are launching today, Working for Health and Growth, makes ten recommendations to address global health workforce challenges. These should help secure jobs for health sector workers that are aligned with worker skills and match the health needs of populations; address the adverse effects of health worker migration; and deliver high‑quality, affordable and people‑centred healthcare services.


We have committed to promote further inter-sectoral engagement, increase investments to transform the health workforce, and improve the quality, collection and analysis of health labour market data.


We have also agreed on the imperative to work together, which means strengthened national, regional and international co-operation. To capitalise on the momentum we have created, we must take concrete steps to ensure the global health workforce meets future health needs.


The OECD stands ready to contribute to this agenda. Working in partnership with the WHO and ILO, we will develop an implementation plan for the Commission’s recommendations. In January 2017, we will discuss how to advance these recommendations further at the OECD’s Health Ministerial Meeting, appropriately titled The Next Generation of Health Reforms.


Ladies and Gentlemen: The recommendations of our Working for Health and Growth report are an important stepping stone towards universal health care, the SDGs and inclusive economic growth. We all stand to gain from healthier populations!


I am honoured to have contributed to this process and look forward to working together to design, develop and deliver better health policies for better lives.


Thank you.