Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

European Call to Action: A health worker for everyone, everywhere!

European Call to Action: A health worker for everyone, everywhere!

The world is 7.2 million health workers short. This seriously threatens the health of people worldwide. Especially middle and low income countries are severely affected. The partners in the project ”Health workers for all and all for health workers” (HW4All) call on European decision makers to contribute to securing sustainable health workforces. They now invite relevant institutions and the public to sign their Call for Action “A health worker for everyone, everywhere!”

Many European countries recruit trained health personnel in other, often poor, countries. This brain drain aggravates inequality between countries and weakens health systems, inside and outside Europe. Unfortunately, agreements on international recruitment of health personnel are insufficiently acted upon. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its member states composed a roadmap for developing the global health workforce: the ‘WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel’. It addresses the root causes of migration and brain drain, health workers training, retention, working conditions, remuneration, and their rights. In spite of the Code, many countries hardly pay attention to the sustainable management of health workforces.

To secure sustainable health workforces in the future, inside and outside Europe HW4All now launches a Call to Action to European decision makers, including EU institutions and the national Ministries and key stakeholders involved in the fields of health personnel planning, training, employment and mobility. It contains the following recommendations:

  • Plan long-term and train self-sustainable workforces. This will make international recruitment less urgent and reduce the brain drain.
  • Invest in the health workforce. Good-quality health care contributes to good health and economic development. Budget cuts in health care in European countries result in trained health personnel shortage and migration.
  • Respect the rights of migrant health workers. Many have temporary contracts, low salaries, and limited social protection. Migrant health workers also have a right to a long-term career.
  • Think and act coherently at national, regional, and global level. Policy coherence with development objectives is a legal obligation enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty.
  • Play your part in Code implementation. The WHO Code offers European countries clear recommendations to realise equal health rights, both in the source and destination countries of health workers migration.

The Call to Action launched at a conference in Madrid, Spain, is now open for signatures on the project website. It will be submitted to European decision makers at a conference next year. The Call is co-promoted by Medicus Mundi International, Network Health for All.

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