Migration of nurses creating health care crisis — TuftonThursday, January 26, 2017
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton has lamented the loss of nurses in the health sector and said the migration of nurses from the island is creating a crisis in the delivery of health services.
This “brain drain has virtually crippled the delivery of certain health care services and has had a dramatic effect on the overall quality of health care,” Tufton said in an address to the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He explained that “this problem, if not given urgent attention, will undermine the very goals that we have recognised in the Commission’s timely and important report and impede the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development”.
Tufton said that even though Jamaica in 2010, adopted the Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in order to properly manage migration to address the problem, “we are still short of the mark in fixing this problem that threatens global health security”. The code provides a framework for both source and destination countries to enter into bilateral agreements
He explained that recently, the Caribbean sub-region has been experiencing increasingly large-scale, targeted recruitment activity by many well-resourced countries to address growing domestic shortages.
The minister cited a World Bank Study in 2009, which revealed that 15 years after graduation, about half of trained nurses from English-speaking CARICOM countries were working abroad; three times as many CARICOM-trained nurses work outside of, rather than within the Region (one of highest levels in the world); and that the regional shortage of nurses was expected to triple to over 10,000 within 13 years.
He said the governments should take urgent steps to mitigate the adverse effects of migration of health personnel through the effective implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice as well as encourage developed and developing nations to adopt a more self-sufficient approach to health human resources management, and pursue enhanced dialogue and partnerships, including bilateral agreements, where appropriate, to address the acute challenges facing source countries.
Such agreements, he added, should address enhanced training of skilled personnel from source countries and provide frameworks for orderly movement of skilled health personnel to address the needs of destination countries without undermining heath security in source countries.
Meanwhile, Tufton will on his way from Switzerland make a brief stop in the United Kingdom to meet with key Parliamentarians and Councils to deepen discussions on human resources for health.
The minister intends on having both countries agreeing on a coordinated orderly flow of migration of critical care nurses.
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