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GHD’s Katie Drasser Asks: “What’s Next for the WHO Global Code?”

May 9, 2013  • Katie Drasser

This post was originally published by the Global Health Workforce Alliance on their Members’ Platform on May 8, 2013. Learn more about GHD’s work on health workforce and the WHO Global Code here, including the upcoming side event at the 2013 World Health Assembly.

On the eve of the 2013 World Health Assembly, it seems we are left with more questions than answers about the future impact of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, and yet few can deny the WHO Global Code’s guiding principles and all that it represents. In other words, few policymakers will argue that health systems cannot benefit from sustainable solutions or that cooperation is bad as we address the challenges of health worker migration. And yet, policymakers from the WHO, to member states, to ministries within governments continue to struggle with how we actual implement this promise that 193 Member States signed onto at the World Health Assembly in 2010.

We have to ask ourselves, what is next for the WHO Global Code? What do policymakers need to facilitate more effective implementation? How can we support each other more? How can policymakers learn more abou the WHO Global Code and recognize it’s centrality to sustainable health systems?

And, with the World Health Assembly starting this month, what can we – WHO, Member States delegations, civil society, health workers – do in this moment to uphold the spirit of the WHO Global Code?

It seems the part of the answer lies with some of the bold leaders and champion countries who have pursued innovative solutions and committed to more than the WHO Global Code, but actually the notion that we cannot stand idle as the gains and losses of health worker migration continue to suffer an imbalance between and among countries. We have to look to countries like Norway and Ghana who last year won the Health Worker Migration Global Policy Council Innovation Award for innovative exchange programs, progressive and ethical policies and a commitment to true north – sustainable health systems for all countries and the people who move freely between them.

To the policymakers that have the opportunity to influence the agenda at the 2013 World Health Assembly: what can we do to support you?