APEC's 8th High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy
On August 16th, 2018, session 4 of the APEC High Level Meeting (HLM) opened with a panel of distinguished health professionals, including the Director of the World Health Organization Collaboration Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Development, Michele Rumsey. The panel also consisted of renowned health professionals; Mr. Dr. Bambang Wibowo, Dr. Mellissa Withers, Mr. Andre Musto, and Prof Ian Wronski.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim economies that aims to enhance economic growth and prosperity as well as free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific Region. The APEC HLM provided a platform through which panellists divulged the potential evolution of Primary Health Care by the means of investment, innovation and collaboration. A focus on improving Primary Health Care through financial and economic means demonstrates a continual commitment by industry professionals in supporting Universal Health Coverage and to the core principles of the Alma-Ata Declaration. The Alma-Ata Declaration is celebrated in its 40th year anniversary, a declaration renowned for its recognition and expansion of primary care services in encompassing a variety of health professionals into the definition; nurses, midwives, auxiliaries, and community health workers.
An issue brought to the forefront in addressing Universal Health Coverage is the deficit of health-care workers. Significant proportions of the deficit are in the APEC region. A current 7.2 million worldwide shortage is estimated to grow exponentially. By 2035, it is said that a deficit of 12.9 million health-care workers can be expected. In achieving Universal Health Coverage, access to health care must be widely available and defined by proficiency; in that, health-care workers that are well-trained, culturally-sensitive, and competent. Strengthening multidisciplinary teams will help combat the deficit of health-care workers.