The World Health Organisation has said that 55 countries are struggling with serious health worker shortages as they continue to seek better-paid opportunities in wealthier more developed nations.
According to WHO, African nations have been worst hit by the brain drain caused by the pandemic, with 37 countries on the continent facing health worker shortages.
“Health workers shortage have threatened their chances of achieving universal health care by 2030 – a key Sustainable Development Goals pledge. Within Africa, it’s a very vibrant economy that is creating new opportunities,” Dr Jim Campbell, the Director responsible for health worker policy at WHO, said in a statement on Tuesday March 14.
“The Gulf States have traditionally been reliant on international personnel and then some of the OECD high-income countries have really accelerated their recruitment and employment to respond to the pandemic and respond to the loss of lives, the infections, the absences of workers during the pandemic”.
“These countries require priority support for health workforce development and health system strengthening, along with additional safeguards that limit active international recruitment,” the WHO insisted.
Supporting the call for universal healthcare for all countries in line with the SDGs, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, called on all countries to respect the provisions in the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list.
“Health workers are the backbone of every health system, and yet 55 countries with some of the world’s most fragile health systems, do not have enough and many are losing their health workers to international migration,” he added.