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WHO UNESCO MoU strengthens health workforce education

On 26 April in Geneva, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) strengthening cooperation between the two organizations to support countries in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Health workforce education and training is key element of ensuring functioning and resilient national health systems, which was stressed in the UN High Level Commisison on Health Employment and Economic GrowthThe previous WHO UNESCO MoU was signed in 1948, so this updated document reinforces the interconnectedness and interdependence of health and education. 

The MoU focuses on promoting integrated approaches between the education and health sectors through complementary and/or joint programming efforts supporting national, regional and global initiatives for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Areas of cooperation include health workforce education and training; school health promotion and education staff training; culturally sensitive advocacy and messaging, and role of the media; strengthening collaboration in the United Nation’s inter-agency bodies and mechanisms; research and training in health and life science; addressing intersectoral responses to climate change and disaster risk reduction; and bioethics. 

“Education and health are both essential for sustainable development and one cannot exist without the other. Children need to be in good health to attend school and reach their full potential. We also know that education has a lifelong impact on a person’s health and that of their children,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. 

“As an evidence-based Organization that values the important role of education, science and research, WHO is proud to strengthen our links with UNESCO and support our common goals of ensuring everyone, everywhere, has access to a good education and essential health services.”

“Advancing the 2030 Agenda demands new integrated, innovative approaches and joint programming to fully harness the full potential of education, health, culture and science in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This strategic partnership between UNESCO and WHO aims to do just that, with the overall goal of ensuring that each and every person reaches their full potential and contributes to building our  sustainable future,” says Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.  

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