World Healthcare
WHO warns of health system collapse in Asia-Pacific
Apr 7, 2006 - 3:56:37 AM

Health systems in Asia and the Pacific are on the brink of collapse if governments fail to address the plight of health workers, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Thursday.

Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said decades of cost-cutting and under-investment have forced health workers to leave and seek better paying jobs outside the region.

On the eve of World Health Day on April 7, Omi urged Asia-Pacific governments to provide better living and working conditions to their health workers.

"It is high time health workers were paid decent salaries and provided with the right working conditions and the right equipment to do the work they are trained to do," he said.

"Health workers are among the unsung heroes of our times," he added. "They work long hours in difficult conditions, often with little rewards and sometimes at risk to their own health."

Omi suggested that governments should come up with national strategic plans for health workers, including health insurance and subsidised mortgages.

WHO has devoted this year's World Health Day to honour the world's health workforce.

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