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Citing global shortage of health personnel, WHO seeks solutions for international mobility

ANI | Updated: Jun 11, 2021 19:13 IST

New Delhi [India], June 11 (ANI): The World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed a global shortage of health personnel and is seeking solutions for challenges faced in international mobility.
In 2013, that shortage was estimated to be 12.9 million however by 2030, based on pre-covid trends it is expected to be at least 18 million, including 5.9 million nurses, a release by WHO reads.
According to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, global distribution of health workers is also inadequate and there has been a 60 per cent rise in personnel in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) numbers.
"In all countries of the world, the production of health workers is inadequate. But their global distribution is increasingly inequitable, due to a range of push and pull factors. Over the last decade, there has been a 60 per cent rise in the number of migrant doctors and nurses working in OECD countries," she said.
Member states of the WHO South-East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, and European regions account for the top seven countries of origin for migrant doctors working in OECD countries.

"They account for six of the top seven countries of origin for migrant nurses in OECD countries. This trend is expected to accelerate, escalating the mismatch between the supply of and economic demand for health workers," says Dr Singh.
This would in turn significantly impact the global push to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), which since 2014, has been one of the South-East Asia Region's Flagship Priorities.
Almost all countries in the region have met and surpassed the original WHO threshold of 22.8 health workers per 10000 population, data by WHO reveals.
However, as the production of health workers in the region has increased, so too has health workforce mobility, specifically, emigration, the release says.
Dr. Singh says that it has been observed how high-income countries actively recruit health personnel from across the world and "how common countries of origin including several in our Region leverage their health workforce diaspora to provide surge support when it mattered most."
The COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways brought health workforce mobility to the fore. (ANI)