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Social Policy Professor Advises WHO on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel

Nicola Yeates book cover

Professor Nicola Yeates has been invited to discuss her recommendations for action to members of the Expert Advisory Group of WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in Geneva on 18th – 19th June.

This Group is comprised of governments and other national and international policy makers, and it is undertaking its second strategic review of the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO Global Code of Practice. The Code (concluded in 2010) was an historic milestone in the long-term efforts of the international community to better manage the global distribution of health workers so as to ensure that health services are properly staffed especially in low-income countries and small island states and that all countries have the staffing capacity to scale-up health service and medical treatment innovations.

Professor Yeates is presenting the key conclusions and recommendations from her new research monograph 'International health worker migration and recruitment: global governance, politics and policy' (with Dr J. Pillinger), which was published last month.

The book builds on a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) which examined source countries' perspectives on health personnel migration. Professor Yeates led the international research team's global policy stream.

The book is the first to have comprehensively researched the history of global governance on this topic, and it considers the policy lessons for present-day global challenges of 'leaving no-one behind' when it comes to health.

Professor Yeates said: "I am delighted the World Health Organisation have taken such a keen interest in my research and I hope to persuade the EAG of the value of building on the existing strengths of the Global Code of Practice while also strengthening its measures in key respects in order to meet the health and health-related Sustainable Development Goals'.

She added that, "this is a major global challenge of our time" which requires "focused and clear thinking". "Globally, this requires significant investment in health workforces and health systems. The good news is that this investment is eminently affordable. It would cost all the countries of the world between them just USD 371 billion per year to put universal health systems in place by 2030. Doing so would save 97 million lives. This amounts to just USD3,800 per year to save each of those lives, while also putting in place health care that improves health outcomes for even more people as well as boosting economic prosperity and altering the development trajectories of countries hardest hit by not having enough skilled health workers. Overseas recruitment is a major part of this, so the significance of this review of the WHO Global Code’s effectiveness comes at an especially critical time".

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