Health Minister gets Support in Nurse Migration Initiative

Initiative to build Multilateral and Bilateral Support for Action to Address Shortage of Critical Care Nurses and Related Human Resource challenges due to International Recruitment and migration of skilled Health Personnel.

  1. Minister of Health Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton (HMH) brought the issue to public attention in statements given in Jamaica and in meetings with candidates for WHO DG, generating attention in key capitals.
  2. Jamaica’s Permanent Mission to the UN and Other International Organisations at Geneva (PMUN GVA) Jamaica advised the President of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board ( EB ) of Jamaica’s intent to intervene on agenda item 8.1 of the EB to address the issue of shortages of skilled Health Personnel in vulnerable countries, arising from international recruitment and migration.
  3. PMUN GVA, further to consultation with HMH, discussed the matter with the Executive Director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance and was updated on efforts to address the matter, including through the collaborative efforts of the WHO, ILO and OECD.
  4. Based on the information gleaned, HMH agreed the following strategy to advance the issue on a multilateral and bilateral track.
    1. To coordinate with the delegations of France and South Africa on a single Decision Point on Human Resources to be agreed by the EB.
    2. Secure a concise and focused paragraph on training and international mobility of health workers viz – “ to further request the Director-General to work with Member States to adopt measures focusing on the key recommendations of the High Level Commission on Employment and Economic Growth report, including the development of intersectoral plans and investment in transformative education, promoting decent job creation in the health and social sectors and mutual benefit from international mobility of health workers.”
    3. Deliver a strong intervention illustrating the challenge faced and stressing the need for determined action.
    4. Consult with key delegations to build support for the proposed Decision Point and for the follow up actions proposed.
    5. Undertake focused discussion in support of bilateral initiatives being explored with key partners.
  5. Consultations were held with key delegations viz – USA, UK, Canada to secure support for the Jamaican addition to the Decision Point piloted by France and South Africa. These delegations supported Jamaica’s proposal as reflected in the amended Decision Point. These partners also took note of the concerns raised by HMH with respect to the challenges in critical care nursing shortages and broader human resource challenges. They agreed to continue discussions on ideas for collaborative approaches raised by HMH. In the case of the UK, HMH will undertake a series of meetings with the Secretary of Health and leading officials and agencies in the health sector. This will enable immediate follow up at the bilateral level.
  6. HMH also met with the Head of Delegation of the Dominican Republic and had further exchanges of views with the Minister of Health of the Philipines and Heads of delegation of Sweden and the Netherlands.
  7. HMH held discussions with DG WHO Dr. Margaret Chan and DG PAHO Dr. Carisa Etienne and raised the matter of Human Resources in Health, Health Information Systems and Vector Control initiatives.
  8. In advancing the EB Decision, several meetings were held at the technical level with France and South Africa to get agreement for the decision point proposed by Jamaica. This was reinforced by exchanges between HMH and the Head of Delegation of France.
  9. Jamaica’s proposal was accepted by the co sponsors with amendments that maintained the key provisions dealing with training and international mobility of health workers.
  10. Consultations on the Decision were undertaken by Jamaica, France, USA,South Africa and Thailand to finalise the text and consider points raised by the Thai delegation – again the key elements proposed by Jamaica were preserved.
  11. The Chairman of the EB extended the session beyond the 5 30 closing time to accommodate the adoption of the Decision. The Decision was adopted unanimously.
  12. Jamaica will now prepare to participate in the consultations further to the Executive Board Decision. These consultations should being in February of 2017.