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International recruitment of health personnel: MMI statement to WHO Europe

International recruitment of health personnel: MMI statement to WHO Europe

Copenhagen, 16 September 2009 | Addressing the participants at the 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, and referring to the draft "WHO code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel", a representative of the Medicus Mundi International Network (MMI) today welcomed the joint effort by WHO Member States, WHO and civil society to address and regulate international migration of health workers. 

MMI advocates for of a strong Global Code of Practice that can guide towards reduced international recruitment and eventually generate a globally balanced health workforce. Some key elements of the MMI statement:

  • "While we respect the efforts on protecting the rights of individual health workers to migrate, one of the main objectives of the code must be to reduce negative effects of international migration of health workers for source countries and their population. Ethical recruitment of health workers must contribute to this objective and must not become a justification or promotion for continued recruitment from countries with a critical shortage of health personnel. The Code should instead include a provision that recommends Member States to refrain from international recruitment in countries with a shortage."
  • "The text of the Code should explicitly announce the obligations of receiving countries towards the ‘source’ countries of health workforce migration based on the obligation laid out in the Universal Right to Health. There must be a stronger emphasis that any form of just or commensurate compensation must be directed to create and maintain greener pastures for health workers in developing countries to jointly eliminate the push factors of migration in order to strengthen the overall health system."
  • "The Code should encourage WHO Member States to ensure a sound and effective national health workforce planning and corresponding investments in training. This will preclude their need to recruit health personnel from abroad."
  • "We urge WHO Member States to fine tune the global code of practice to their respective national context. As part of a sound national workforce policy that aims for self-sufficiency we recommend that the text of the Code urges Member States to also develop their own national code of practice to regulate international recruitment."


Read the full MMI statement: PDF file

Get in touch with the MMI secretariat for more information: Contact

Join us in a round table on health workforce migration on 24 September in Bern, Switzerland: Announcement

The statement was drafted by the Medicus Mundi International Network in cooperation with Wemos, the Netherlands.

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