WHO EB136: International Recruitment of Health Personnel

Statement read on January 29th during the World Health Organization (WHO) 136th Executive Board Meeting.

IFMSA is currently represented at WHO EB136 by a delegation of 4 members: Pedro Miranda (LO-WHO), Agostinho Sousa (President), Claudel P-Desrosiers (VPE) and Ivan Seah (General Delegate).

Agenda Item 10.2 – WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel 

Distinguished Chair,
Distinguished Representatives,

IFMSA welcomes the report of the secretariat, stated on the the document EB136/28.

The creation of an expert advisory group may be a good way to push forward the implementation of Resolution WHA63.16. However, we would like to remind you of the important role played by academia and young organizations in providing perspectives on the major challenges linked to retention and migration of health workers.

Since WHA66, IFMSA started to work actively on international recruitment, and we expect to have data from the field for the WHO in the upcoming years. We find this important because WHO can formulate policies and foster solutions that will affect future generations of health professionals around the world.

IFMSA suggests that the expertise group oversee and integrate the current on-going processes undertaken by other organs, such as by the European Union and the different WHO Regional Offices. This is needed to maximize both efforts and resources provided by members states and to integrate even more data.

We, as medical students and future doctors, also request your understanding of the challenging conditions we are currently facing and working in. The lack of human resources put enormous pressure on us. Some of us work more than 100 hours per week. The exponential increase of medical schools combined with a lack of proper planning creates and exacerbates youth unemployment and underemployment. This jeopardizes the safety of our patients, and and contributes to mental health problems among our students, including depression, burnout and suicides.

In the past two years, we have been trying to provide the information to show that the Code isn’t being implemented nor followed upon my some member states. We are trying to help as much as possible, but we ask you to support the work of the expertise group to be created and to not create “business as usual” policies.

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