SEA/RC61/19 Rev.1 - Follow-up action on selected resolutions/decisions of the last three years: international migration of health personnel: a challenge for health systems in developing countries
Abstract“International migration of the health workforce” is a challenge for Member countries of the WHO South-East Asia (SEA) Region as it impedes the momentum of strengthening health systems. In response to the Regional Committee resolution SEA/RC60/R9 and to sustain the health workforce in the health system it is important to explore ways to deal with unabated migration of the health workforce. Internal migration (rural to urban areas and from public sector to private sector) and external migration of the health workforce are challenges to the health system, especially in developing countries. Improved working conditions, better compensation packages, professional and psychosocial support and career opportunities are needed to retain the health workforce in the health system. However, all of these need to be translated into action. At the same time, it is noted that some Member countries of the SEA Region benefit from international migration of the health workforce as recipient countries. Thus, there is a strong need for regional coordination mechanisms to monitor migrations. Against this background, Member countries proposed to WHO to organize a meeting for Member countries of the Region to share their experiences with a view to mitigate the negative impact of international migration of health personnel. It is acknowledged that migration of health personnel can have a positive impact on the transfer of knowledge and technology. The issue of health professionals not working in the profession should also be taken into account. In response to this growing health workforce problem, the Regional Office is developing tools to assess and explore the trend or pattern of migration and categories of the health workforce that migrate from and to the SEA Region. It is also developing a database for the health workforce in the SEA Region that will contribute towards developing evidence-based policies and strategies for health workforce retention and for setting up forums for discussion and exploration to develop a regional code of practice for the ethical recruitment of health workers. The latter will enable governmentto- government exchange of the health workforce without incapacitating the health system in the country of origin. The Regional Office is also collaborating with Global Alliance for Health Workforce, World Trade Organization, Asia Pacific Action Alliance for Human Resources for Health (AAAH), International Organization for Migration and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for technical and policy dialogue. This working paper was submitted to the Meeting of the Advisory Committee (ACM), held in WHO/SEARO, New Delhi from 30 June to 3 July 2008, for review and discussion. The ACM made the following recommendations: Action by Member States (1) Assess the health workforce migration pattern, and identify the “push” and “pull” factors specific to a country; (2) Conduct research with regard to migration trends, numbers, types and movements; and (3) Institute mechanisms for motivation of the health workforce and develop appropriate incentive systems to retain them. Action by WHO/SEARO (1) Develop tools to monitor the health workforce migration into and out of the SEA Region; (2) Develop the health workforce database in the Region and also develop policy dialogue, information-sharing and collaboration with partners; (3) Organize a forum for health workforce migration and regulatory mechanisms; (4) Convene a regional consultation to share experiences on health workforce migration; and (5) Facilitate the study of health workforce movement within Member countries in the Region. The working paper is now submitted to the Sixty-first Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2008). SEA/RC61/19 Rev.1 - Follow-up action on selected resolutions/decisions of the last three years: international migration of health personnel: a challenge for health systems in developing countries. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/128704
Gov't Doc #SEA/RC61/19 Rev.1
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