Human Resources for Health
Worldwide there is a shortage of health personnel. In both poor countries and rich countries, too few health workers are trained. Vacancies in Western countries attract many health professionals, as rich countries offer higher salaries and better facilities. As a result, poor countries are being affected disproportionately by the global personnel shortage. This contributes to the limited access to health care in low-income countries.
Wemos lobbies for ethical recruitment of foreign health staff
Health personnel is distributed unevenly. Low-income countries have access to a limited amount of health workers, while they suffer a large part of the global burden of disease. Migration of health workers increases these inequalities and poses a challenge to all nations, including the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has a responsibility to contribute to solutions for the global maldistribution of health personnel. In May 2010, the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. Wemos was actively involved in the process of approval of the Code, which aims to minimize the damage of unethical recruitment practices for low-income countries. By adopting the Code, member states agreed that they will be self-sufficient in the domestic health workforce deployment and that they will make sure that health systems in source countries are not undermined by international migration of health personnel. The Dutch government is together with other Dutch stakeholders, such as health care institutions and labour unions, responsible for the implementation of the WHO-Code.
Wemos advocates ethical recruitment of health personnel by:
- encouraging international donors and the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to increase investments in health staff in low-income countries;
- convincing the Dutch Minister for Public Health of the necessity to train sufficient numbers of personnel, so that no gaps will develop which are filled by health staff from low-income countries;
collaborating with international organizations such as Medicus Mundi International (MMI) Network, the Health Workforce Alliance Initiative (HWAI), the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and the Dutch Human Resources for Health Alliance; and
facilitating the implementation of the WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in the Netherlands, in collaboration with health care institutions, labour unions, health professional organizations, non-gouvernmental organizations, health workers, and ministries.
From 1 January 2013, Wemos is coordinating a European project entitled ‘Health workers for all and all for health workers’. For the project, Wemos is working with civil society organizations (CSOs) in eight European countries: Belgium, the UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. The project is designed to promote the responsible recruitment of health workers inside and outside the European Union (EU). The CSOs are drawing attention to the consequences of the migration and mobility of health workers. Another aim of the project is to expedite implementation of the World Health Organization's Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in the eight partner countries. This project is funded by the EU.
- Dutch politicians publicly support Wemos’ points of view.
The Dutch Minister for Public Health is a public supporter of the implementation of a code of conduct for ethical recruitment in the Netherlands.
The Dutch media pay attention to the global shortage of health personnel and Wemos’ points of view.
The European member states are discussing the consequences of the migration of health personnel inside and outside the EU.
The project Human Resources for Health is part of 'Health Unlimited', Wemos' initiative to make health (care) more sustainable. Read more
Last update: February 15, 2013