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"They heard us" - UK International Development Committee recommends health worker compensation

"They heard us" - UK International Development Committee recommends health worker compensation

London, 1 October 2014. "Back in October 2013 we published a report and briefing, ‘Aid in Reverse’, focusing on the global health worker crisis and the UK’s role in perpetuating this situation. This is part of our campaign with the Health Workers For All coalition. Exploring the phenomena whereby rich countries have actively recruited health workers from the Global South, causing a catastrophic shortage of health workers in those countries, we called upon the UK government to recognise how it has unfairly benefited from this situation and to do something about it. Hundreds of you supported our campaign asking the Departments of Health and International Development to work more closely together to tackle our own health worker shortage, and to compensate those countries whose health systems are suffering as a result of this brain drain. We argued that much more needed to be done to increase the numbers of health workers in developing countries and to strengthen the health systems they serve. As an estimated 1 billion people will never see a health worker, strengthening these systems is crucial to stop people dying from easily preventable diseases, childbirth and basic health conditions.

And we are delighted to say that thanks to your action and lobbying, the message has started to be heard. The latest report released by the International Development Committee, a parliamentary committee that scrutinises the UK’s development work,  picked up on our recommendation for compensation, stating:

“The staffing of the UK health sector should not be at the expense of health systems in developing countries. We recommend DFID work with the Department of Health to review its approach to the UK recruitment of health workers from overseas. This review should consider options for compensating source country systems, promoting training schemes that involve a temporary stay in the UK, and strengthening local programmes to enable more medical training to take place in-country” (Point 60, Strengthening Health Systems in Developing Countries, Fifth Report of Session 2014–15, 2 September 2014)

This is one small step in the right direction and we’re delighted to see the health worker compensation on the agenda. There is still far to go, but we would like to thank all of you who have taken action so far to support this cause. Go spread the word. We will keep monitoring progress and let you know when there is more to share."

(Health Poverty Action blog)

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