Migration of health personnel: interviews with country delegations at the World Health Assembly 2010

"Doctors and Nurses", BBC World News documentary on health workforce migration, 2010

As announced in May following the closure of the 2010 World Health Assembly, the Alliance recognizes the newly adopted WHO Global Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel as a major step towards alleviating the global health workforce crisis. At the Assembly, members of the WHO Department of Human Resources for Health together with the Global Health Workforce Alliance interviewed delegates from select North and South countries to get their impressions on the code.

Botswana, Norway and Brazil took part in the interviews and commented on the adoption of the Code with what they believed to be the salient points around the development process, the negotiations, the potential benefits and the challenges ahead. The interviews were edited as a part of the WHO podcast series and are now available from the link below.

Rhee Hetanang, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Botswana in Geneva spoke about the long and intense negotiations at the Assembly. "The negotiations for the WHO code of practice is a major milestone in Botswana because we believe it is a delicate balance following negotiations that were tough." he said. "the code will be particularly useful for Botswana as a tool that we can use to strengthen our health system" he added.

Clearly looking at his country's management and education responsibilities rather than relying on migrants, Dr Bjorn Inge Larssen, Norway's Chief Medical Officer said "Norway is one of those countries where we […] will need a lot more health resources because the population is ageing and this code clearly states that countries need to plan for their own needs of health personnel." Dr Larssen also noted the importance of education "The education of health personnel will probably now be more important when we are working with other countries to improving their systems."

Dr Francisco de Campos, Secretary for Labour and Education Management in Health within Ministry of Health Brazil and member of the Alliance Board, told us about the complexity of health worker migration issues and the balanced approach that countries need to work towards: "We in Brazil respect that the international solidarity will be of value in the international diplomacy and this Code will be in our point of view the first step in order to have in the world a better system of health, universal access that are the values we have been pursuing for a long while." He also stated that " this code really means […] is creating a system of information and evidence-based data, that can allow in the future to have further decisions that go beyond the voluntary Code."

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