A robust, resilient, and well-supported health workforce is at the heart of the response to any global health threat, including the HIV/AIDS response. African leaders have elevated this critical fact through key continent-wide commitments to strengthen the health workforce, including, the 2017 African Union (AU) Declaration to support two million community health workers and the more recent AU calls to scale up frontline health workers and field epidemiologists among other health workforce cadres as part of establishing Africa’s New Public Health Order. The Africa Regional Office of the World Health Organization has also consistently underscored the significant shortages and unequal distribution of health workers across Africa.
The United States continues to build upon its history of support for Africa’s health workforce. The Biden-Harris Administration Global Health Workforce Initiative launched on May 11, 2022, aims to protect and expand the global public health workforce, including clinicians, community health and care workers, and public health professionals. The COVID-19 Global Action Plan prioritized support for health workers. The United States is following up this bold commitment at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit by committing to establish a coordination framework to align existing resources for greater impact across U.S. government agencies and with regional partners including Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the African Union, and WHO.
Since the inception of the program, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has invested in the health workforce as a critical part of the HIV/AIDS response. PEPFAR has trained and supported hundreds of thousands of health workers in Africa and around the world and supports additive clinical and ancillary workers such as doctors, nurses, community health workers, epidemiologists and more. PEPFAR’s five-year strategy highlights health workforce as a critical priority for sustaining the HIV/AIDS response and strengthening public health systems.
Over the past year alone, PEPFAR has invested nearly $1.2 billion to support over 325,000 health workers across the 29 PEPFAR partner countries This investment includes:
PEPFAR contributions are critical to supporting, expanding and protecting Africa’s health workforce and reflect the broader U.S. commitment to pursue these shared goals in close coordination with our African partners.