Recognizing the fundamental importance of a sustainable and well-performing health workforce which is the backbone of an effective health system, as well as the need to address health workforce challenges in countries and introduce mechanisms to improve and promote relevant health workforce policies, the SEEHN Regional Health Development Centre on Human Resources for Health (HPH), established in 2013 in the Republic of Moldova, organized a Multi-country Workshop titled “Health Workforce – from Challenges to Solutions”.

Implemented in collaboration with and under the technical guidance of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the workshop took place on November 10-11, 2014 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Gathering national focal points on HRH, policy-makers and researchers dealing with health workforce issues, the workshop aimed at shaping the agenda for action in the SEEHN countries. More precisely, its purpose was to take stock of recent evidence on effective health workforce strategies in order to increase technical capacity in SEEHN countries and to strategize their collaborative efforts to support effective and sustainable health workforce development in the SEE region.

Therefore, the workshop participants used the opportunity to review the current progress and challenges in the health workforce development in SEEHN countries, including the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice, and shared their experiences and lessons learnt in addressing health workforce challenges in Europe with a focus on health workforce mobility.

Also presented were a methodology and a questionnaire for assessing the situation in the SEE countries regarding the harmonization and mutual recognition of health professionals’ qualifications in Europe to be performed with EC TAIEX support. The general concept of the First SEE Forum of Health Educational Institutions in South East Europe to take place in Varna, Bulgaria in 2015 as well as drafting outline of a SEEHN strategy and action plan on strengthening human resources for health (2014-2020) in line with the SEEHN Decision and the SEE 2020 Strategy were part of the workshop agenda as well.

The workshop encouraged strengthened political commitment in SEEHN countries which is essential to effective and sustainable health workforce development, one of the key strategic actions of the health dimension in the Inclusive Growth Pillar of the recently approved SEE 2020 Strategy “Jobs and Prosperity in the European Perspective.”

The workshop was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health of Slovenia and co-sponsored by the Technical Programme on Human Resources for Health (HRH) at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.

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