Q&A WHO Learning Strategy

16 June 2020 | Q&A

The purpose of the WHO Learning Strategy is to create a culture that redefines and establishes the norm of lifelong learning in public health, removing barriers to learning and promoting excellence to improve people’s health using the most effective education standards and adult learning know-how. It will propose a framework and approach by WHO on learning and training for its own workforce, as well as how it will support learning externally, across diverse sectors, for the achievement of global, national and individual health goals, to ensure people achieve the best levels of health possible.

The Learning Strategy is intended to be considered by and implemented by WHO, as a learning organization and as an organization supporting the learning of Member States, partners, institutions and other key stakeholders in all relevant sectors. The Strategy is aimed at users of health knowledge, producers of health knowledge, catalysers – enablers of health knowledge – and decision‑makers, who make decisions related to learning and training in public health.

Only 5% of countries are currently on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health by 2030. This means that even the most basic health targets will not be reached thereby impacting on the survival, health and well-being of people in all countries. At the national level, studies indicate that it can take up to 10 years for global health guidance to be operationalized to help improve people’s health at the front line. This is compounded by the lack of universal access to lifelong learning by the most important agents of change for health, health workers, decision-makers and the public.

Within the World Health Organization, the proposed WHO Academy will be facilitating and monitoring the implementation of the Strategy.


The WHO Learning Strategy is currently being drafted and it will be subject to internal reviews within WHO and external, expert consultations, before being published, in quarter 4 2020.

The WHO Learning Strategy will guide WHO’s approach to learning in health to accelerate the achievement of international, national and individual health goals ensuring rights, equity, quality, safety and access; harnessing the potential of digital technologies; and using adult learning and behavioural change know-how. The Learning Strategy will not replace academic and other formal training of public health professionals. Its focus will be on operational public health. The Strategy is not limited to learners in the human health sector but is inclusive of all audiences.

The WHO Learning Strategy is being developed by a dedicated team, within the WHO Academy. WHO is covering the limited costs, but many experts, institutions, UN agencies and volunteers are helping for free the development of the Strategy. France is contributing towards the establishment of the Academy, including resources required to develop the Learning Strategy (https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/24-02-2020-france-pledges-us100-million-for-who-academy)