Back off! - Tufton gains world support to stop recruitment of critical-care nurses by other countries
At least 34 member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) have given unwavering backing to Jamaica's health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, as he made a compelling case for remedial action to stave off the extensive recruitment of critical-health personnel from Caribbean states by the developed world, leaving the affected countries in health crises.
WHO's executive board considered a number of recommendations by Tufton to alleviate the mass recruitment of critical-health workers from the region.
In a presentation yesterday at the WHO summit in Geneva, Switzerland, Tufton pointed out that a loss of personnel was creating a crisis in the delivery of health services in vulnerable countries such as Jamaica.
In recent times, scores of critical health care nurses have resigned their jobs in the local health sector and migrated to developed countries for more lucrative jobs.
According to the health minister, if this problem is not given urgent attention, it would undermine the goals of the world health body and impede the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
GLOBAL CODE OF PRACTICE
In this regard, Tufton called on member states of the WHO to take urgent steps to mitigate the adverse effects of migration of health personnel through the effective implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
The code was developed and adopted by member states out of a deep concern that the severe shortage of health personnel constitutes a major threat to the performance of health systems and undermines the ability of these countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
One of the guiding principles of the code is that international recruitment of health personnel should be conducted in accordance with the principles of transparency, fairness, and promotion of sustainability of health systems in developing countries.
Tufton, in his presentation to the representatives of WHO member states, said that efforts should be made to encourage developed and developing nations to adopt a more self-sufficient approach to health human resources management.
He also pushed for enhanced dialogue and partnerships, including bilateral agreements, where appropriate, to address the acute challenges facing source countries. He said that such agreements should address enhanced training of skilled personnel from source countries and provide frameworks for orderly movement of skilled health personnel to address the needs of destination countries without undermining health security in source countries.
The Jamaican health minister has planned a series of meetings with the secretary of health in the United Kingdom and leading officials and agencies in the health sector. He said that this would enable immediate follow-up at the bilateral level.