Health workforce

Summaries of contributions



Health Rights Advocacy Forum (HERAF), Nairobi, Kenya

While the code is strong in many respects, HERAF believes that there are several areas for improvement.

  • Article 6 ought to require compensation to developing nations in order to enable these nations to continue training health professionals, as opposed to incurring losses on training investments.
  • Article 6 should also include provisions for requiring recruiting countries to establish training programmes in source countries that would enable the transfer of technology, skills, and technical and financial assistance to improve the health system in the developing country.
  • Article 5 must go further in explicitly specifying that the “benefits” to the source country should complement and strengthen the country’s own development and health sector priorities and strategies.
  • Article 9 of the code should explicitly guarantee health workers freedom of association.
  • Article 8.3 of the code should encourage partnerships and collaboration among health professional associations or unions in both source and destination countries.
  • Article 3.9 must also include both sexual orientation and health status (including HIV status) as further “distinctions” which will be prohibited.
  • Mandatory standards are needed to make this code effective, efficient, transparent and accountable.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN), United Kingdom

RCN generally welcomes the WHO code and particularly the fact that it covers not only recruitment and retention, but also workforce planning and data collection. Given that there are concerns about the use of banned lists with ethical codes, the RCN is pleased that this has not been included and that more emphasis has been placed on mutual benefit.

A major omission, however, is the issue of regulation, particularly the professional regulation of health personnel. Regulators play an important role in standard setting, patient safety and determining who is eligible for employment in specific professional roles. Education institutions and education quality assurance bodies also need to be included.

We would want to see a strong message in Article 2 in support of more binding measures by individual countries and regions with strong economic ties (e.g. European Union, NAFTA).

In the meaning of Article 3.9 we would want to see included disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, trade union membership, political opinion/belief and consideration to wider issues such as migrant health workers who are carers or have dependents.


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Last update:

10 October 2014 13:27 CEST