Changing Context and Impact on Labour Market and Health Professional Training

At country level, the social determinants of health, demographic and epidemiological transition (increased NCD in almost all countries and double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in low income countries) have impact on demand for health professionals. Government needs to plan for number and cadres mix requirement for the country health needs; and understand the labour market dynamics to achieve better results in the distribution, retention and performance of the health professionals.

At global level, the trends in economic and health systems in one country have major ramification on health workforce in another country. In the light of rights to employment, migration and settlement, free international migration of health workforce will have major impact to health systems and patients in the source countries. Demands of elderly and chronic patient care coupled with high purchasing power in rich countries trigger exodus of trained health workforce from poorer countries. Many countries also face acute mal-distribution of health workers within their borders, due to unattractive employment conditions in remote and rural areas, which create barriers to recruitment and retention of health workers, and inequities in the availability of health services for the population.

In low income countries where Global Health Initiatives (GHI) plays a significant financing role in health sector in general or in diseases specific, migration of health workforce to accommodate these GHI programmes may have either positive or negative impact on retention of health workforce in areas where health needs are urgent but not funded by GHI. Understanding these issues would help mitigate impact.

Economy which changes from export-led growth to stimulating domestic consumption of services will have major impact on demand for health workforce. In the economic boom, the increased demand for private health care triggers domestic migration of trained health workforce from public to private; and vice versa, in a economic bust situation; reverse migration was observed. Public sector reform, downsizing government and opening up for increased private sector role have major impact on the choice of employment, including migration of health workforce. Employment conditions matter, such as the emergence of flexible career pathway and alternative careers, changing demographic profile of the health workforce, availability of part-time and full-time work, and multi-task generation have major impacts on the performance of and employment options accessible to the health workforce. Therefore, understanding these economic factors and labour market context and determinants are important contributions to effective strategies and solutions to protect public interests and to prepare the health professionals for a productive and fulfilling career.


1. To identify, share and learn strengths and weaknesses of the current health professional education, teaching and learning systems in different country contexts.

2. To identify how health professional education, teaching and learning systems be transformed in advancing health equity agenda and be responsive to health of people in the dynamic socio-economic environment.

3. To support the development of strategies and interventions in transforming health professional education systems at the national levels.

4. To strengthening the regional network contributing to evidence for health professional education transformation.


The conference program was developed starting with the conceptual framework in the figure above, comprising 3 main components: (1) education system including innovation and technology on health professional learning; (2) health system, and (3) labor market and demographic transition that will have impact on both education and health systems.  These 3 components are divided into 4 key areas with various issues under each area as follows:

Health Professional Education Reform:
Instructional Dimensions
Health Professional Education Reform: Institutional Dimensions
Advancing Health Equity Through Health Workforce Education, Training and Deployment
Changing Context and Impact on Labour Market and Health Professional Training
The abovementioned 4 key areas and issues under each area were used as a guideline in the design of organized sessions for the conference.
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Program 2014 Proceeding 2014
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