Addressing the challenges associated with health worker migration

Health Worker Migration

The timely delivery of quality health services relies to a large extent on the availability of doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and the allied health professions. Having the right numbers of health professionals with the right skills in the right place is essential for the performance of health systems. The World Health Assembly 2010 adopted the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel to serve as a continuous and dynamic framework for global dialogue and cooperation.

Efforts to develop the health workforce, however, are confronted with looming and manifest workforce shortages globally. To this end, there have been several meetings to review and renew good practises and innovations.

Health Worker Migration Global Policy Advisory Council

Health Worker Migration Council meeting
© The Aspen Institute
(from left) Health Worker Migration Global Policy Advisory Council Chairs: Dr Francis Omaswa and Senator Tom Daschle

The Health Worker Migration Council recently met in Washington D.C. to launch the reconstituted Council. The Aspen Institute serves as the Secretariat for the Council that is a part of the Health Worker Migration Initiative (HWMI).The Council and HWMI hold key partnerships with the Global Health Workforce Alliance, WHO, International Organization for Migration and Health Worker Advocacy Initiative. The Council co-chaired by Senator Tom Daschle and Dr. Francis Omaswa is an independent body of experts and high-level policy makers from sending and receiving countries designed to address the challenges associated with health worker migration while shining a light of solutions.

During the 2011 Annual Council Meeting, members reviewed the Council’s mandate and activities for 2012 including the Innovations in Health Worker Migration Award, support for bilateral agreement development, and the Council Conversation Series. This last activity generated lots of interest from Council Members who view a series of policy briefs, case studies, narratives and films that highlight solutions and innovations in health worker migration, as an effective way of creating awareness and inspiring action at national, regional and global levels. To learn more about the HWMI and the Council, including full meeting proceedings, updated mandate, history and activities, please visit:

International Conference “Ensuring tomorrow’s health: workforce planning and mobility”

A recent conference organized by the International Organisation for Migration evaluated good practices and evidence from Europe, and discussed sustained data and intelligence systems and general workforce strategies for a sustained health workforce.

Latin American Network for Migration of Health Professionals

Another important meeting entirely dedicated to migration of health personnel took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in November. It was supported by the European Union through the project "Migration of Health Professionals between Latin America and Europe: Analysis and Generation of Opportunities for Shared Development". The meeting served as a platform to identify progress and challenges in the region, and covered areas such as the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice, the information and registry systems for health professionals, monitoring migrations, bi- and multilateral agreements, and came up with a new Work Plan for the Latin American Network for Migration of Health Professionals.