WHO-WHPA COVID19 impact on the professions

March 2023

Health workforce, Jobs, Professional practice, Service delivery


Document cover

Publication description

What the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed: the findings of five global health workforce professions

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO asserted that a holistic assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact is needed and accordingly formulated a comprehensive framework for measurement and reporting that broadly draws upon four main domains. Two domains, ‘health’ and ‘social and well-being,’ are central to the individual HCW and two domains, ‘availability and distribution’ and ‘working conditions,’ are central to the organizational and working environment. The overarching goal of this holistic framework is to empower countries, global partners and WHO to collectively inform strategies that guide recovery plans, future investments, and further develop the health and care workforce at the national and global levels. Relative to that, the primary objective of the evidence synthesis (guided by WHO’s four domains of interest) is to triangulate data and information generated by the World Health Professions Alliance.

It was conducted using information and report summaries from the World Health Professions Alliance to generate a comparative secondary analysis of the surveys conducted in the period 2020–2021. No standardized data collection instrument, variable, or question was used across the five organizations. Instead, the organizations gathered data from their respective national professional associations using various instruments and developed reports that discussed either the pandemic specifically or in conjunction with additional priority issues. At least one World Health Professions Alliance organization is represented in 169 (87%) of the 194 WHO Member States. In 42 Member States (21%), all five World Health Professions Alliance organizations are represented.

This evidence synthesis describes how the five professions were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in common and different ways by comparing the experiences of dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians and physiotherapists. The individual organizational findings of the five World Health Professions Alliance organizations inform the five key themes and the subsequent findings and recommendations. The inspiration was to inform future data collection efforts by building upon collective  knowledge, data accessibility and question formats that have generalizable applicability to all World Health Professions Alliance organizations.

Suggestion of other publications

International Nurses Day

Advanced practice nursing, Education, Health workforce, Jobs, Leadership, Nursing regulation, Professional practice, Service delivery

Download the publication

Annual Report

Leadership, Nursing regulation, Professional practice, Social-economic welfare

Download the publication