Health workforce

Summaries of contributions

Andreas Disen, Elisabeth Vaagen, Norwegian Ministry of Health

The following are extracts of a longer submission, which included a suggested restructure of the code, to be duly considered at revised draft:

The code will be an important first step in taking concrete action to resolve the health workforce crisis, and the need for immediate and sustained action from all countries should be clearly stated in Article 1.

The code should emphasize the need for Member States to ensure that their existing health workforce is utilized and allocated in accordance with its specific needs and challenges in a way that maximizes the health impacts of the workforce.

Furthermore, the code would benefit from emphasis on the overarching importance of health systems in tackling the health workforce shortages. The severe shortage of health workers in many developing countries undermines their health systems and impairs ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Developed countries should abstain from actively and systematically recruiting health workers from countries experiencing health workforce shortages, unless equitable agreements – bilateral, regional or multilateral – exist between source and receiving countries.

Member States should establish or strengthen national data collection on recruitment and migration of health workers and the WHO should consider establishing guidelines to ensure data can be compared among Member States.

Ronald Labonté, Corinne Packer, Vivien Runnels, Institute of Population Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

Note: The IPS provided a number of specific comments on articles 2,4,5,6 and 7 and these will be duly considered when the draft is revised. Below are selected highlights of IPS’s general comments.

  • Major concerns are with the voluntary nature of the code.
  • In order to protect countries and migrants either from disregard of the code or from claims-making, suggest that data, including accurate information about migration flows (include regional and gendered) and deficits and surfeits in health personnel at the country level, must be collected, analysed and shared by a coordinating body that is at arms-length from participating countries.
  • Consider carefully the experiences of other voluntary codes and note what has worked and not worked in terms of data collection, monitoring, reporting and voluntary compliance and plan to address the gaps and build on the successes.
  • Suggest that the proposed voluntary code should form the foundation on which to build a binding agreement within a period of no longer than seven years after the issue of a voluntary code to implement the structures etc. necessary to support a binding agreement.
  • Suggest that at an early stage the WHO names a coordinating body (possibly the Global Health Workforce Alliance) and ensures that appropriate resources are allocated to same.

Last update:

10 October 2014 13:26 CEST