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Solution for health workers shortage in Pacific

SPC press release

New solution on the horizon for health workers shortage in the Pacific

Wednesday 15 November 2006, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), 36th Committee of Representatives of the Governments and Administrations (CRGA) – In light of SPC’s commitment to provide solutions to challenges in the region, CRGA 36 today commended the joint effort of the World Health Organization (WHO) and SPC in the development of a draft “Code of Practice” for recruitment of health workers in the Pacific region. The Draft Code of Practice will be presented to the Pacific Ministers of Health meeting in Vanuatu in March 2007 for their approval.

“The decision to develop such a code of practice was made by Pacific Health Ministers in March 2005 in Apia. The code will provide a mechanism to facilitate bilateral recruitment of health workers within a framework based on mutuality of benefits, transparency and fairness for all involved,” said Dr Juliet Fleischl, Technical Officer, Human Resources and Health Systems for WHO.

Across the world, there is a shortage of 4.3 million health workers, be it doctors, nurses or mid-wifes. In the Pacific, this shortage is however inequitable across the region, with some Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) experiencing far greater shortages than others.

“Individual countries, from both within and beyond the region have systematically recruited health workers in efforts to address their own workforce problems. This has had a negative impact on the health systems of some PICTs,” said Dr Fleischl.

“The Regional Code of Practice for the recruitment of health workers, once approved by the Ministers of Health of the Pacific, will provide a mechanism that will assist PICTs to better manage their health workforces’ dynamics since it relates to international migration,” said SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers.

Ends

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