WHO director candidate shares concerns over rich countries poaching specialist nurses
Syranno Baines, Gleaner Writer
One of the candidates vying to become the next Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Professor Philippe Douste-Blazy, says the international health community should work to solve the problem of rich countries taking away critical healthcare workers from developing countries such as Jamaica.
Professor Douste-Blazy told The Gleaner that he shares Jamaica’s concern on the matter.
The former French health minister says a mechanism regarding human resources in public health needs to be developed that would be beneficial to both developed and developing states.
He says it is among the matters he would pursue if he becomes the next head of the WHO.
Jamaica’s health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre last week that he intends to raise the matter of foreign countries taking away Jamaica’s specialist nurses at the WHO board meeting in Switzerland this month.
Noting that the Government cannot stop nurses from taking up job opportunities overseas, Dr Tufton pointed out that recruitment of these specialist nurses has created challenges for Jamaica’s health system.
Last week, Chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), James Moss-Solomon, revealed that major surgeries at the hospital have been cancelled due, in part, to the chronic shortage of specialist critical care nurses.
Moss-Solomon told a monthly meeting of the Lions Club of Kingston that the recruitment of these nurses in droves by overseas entities is a major problem for the UHWI, which is a medical training hospital.