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Opinions: Stopping Active Recruitment Of Developing Country Health Care Workers; MDGs At 10 Years

U.S. Should Curb Active Recruitment Of Health Professionals From Developing Countries

In a Seattle Times opinion piece Amy Hagopian of the University of Washington, Eric Williams of Physicians for Human Rights and Emily deRiel of the Health Alliance International reflect on the recent adoption of a resolution “to prevent health-worker brain drain from developing countries” during the World Health Assembly last month. “Low-income countries invest significant resources to train health workers” and “[a]ctive recruitment of their doctors and nurses systematically deprives communities and entire populations of their right to health,” the authors write. “The Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (.pdf) … calls on rich nations to meet their own internal demands without taking health workers away from countries that can least afford to lose them.”

The article names the U.K., Canada and Norway as countries that have made efforts to “curb their active-recruitment practices,” before calling upon the U.S. to “follow suit.” The writers add, “As an initial step, we have to do a better job of tracking health-worker migration to inform policy decisions on increasing our domestic training programs to better meet demand. While we know approximately one in four U.S. physicians and about 220,000 nurses were trained abroad (largely in lower-income countries), those data are hard to come by.” They conclude: “The Code of Practice offers real opportunity. We (and all nations) must now follow through as if we really meant it – because countless lives depend on it” (5/28).

10 Years Of MDGs: Progress, Challenges And Lessons Learned

“The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are in many ways the Cinderella of international development,” Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University writes in a Scientific American opinion piece reflecting on the progress made toward the goals over the past 10 years, ahead of the upcoming MDG summit in September.

Sachs writes about a few of the lessons learned since he was tapped by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to direct the U.N. Millennium Project. “We … learned, through a global network of hundreds of leading thinkers, practitioners and businesses, that the various goals – to reduce hunger, ensure school attendance, prevent childhood deaths, control pandemic diseases, fight gender bias, and more – could be spurred through very realistic investments and strategies” – a point that is exemplified in the U.N. leadership on malaria control, according to Sachs. He also reflects on how “[t]he model for malaria control, [is] now being extended to smallholder farming,” in part through recent efforts made by the Obama administration.

“Without question, the MDGs have spurred remarkable progress, but the challenges remain huge. Success will require plans at the September MDG Summit that concretely link governments, businesses, NGOs and individuals to clear national strategies,” Sachs concludes (5/27).

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