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PIA Press Release
2009/02/17

WHO-linked body lauds RP policy on health-workers migration as "worth emulating"

Manila (PNA) (17 February) -- The Philippine government's migration scheme for its health-sector workers, where full support is given from pre-departure to reintegration upon return to the Philippines, has received praises from a global health policy advisory council as "a model worth emulating."

The body, called Global Policy Advisory Council of the Health Worker Migration Initiative (HWMI), is a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Health Workforce Alliance, and Realizing Rights.

HWMI is composed of Ministers of Health and Development from both workers-source and destination countries, as well as leading health, labor and migration experts.

HWMI met early this month in Oslo, Norway, where, according to Philippine ambassador to Norway Elizabeth Buensuceso, other countries hailed the Philippines' multi-pronged endeavor as "a model worth emulating by both (labor) receiving and sending countries."

At the meeting, Norway, forecasting shortages of 50,000 medical workers by 2030, presented its draft strategy which emphasizes eventual self-sufficiency while taking into consideration the arrival of foreign medical workers.

In her recent report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Buensuceso said "participants commented on the great effort expended by the Philippine government to institutionalize structural and societal safeguards that would ensure that health workers who decide to migrate are adequately protected and cared for."

"The meeting expressed admiration at how the Philippines has developed a cycle of management, from the initial stage of providing training and developing expertise in the medical fields, to assistance before departure and while in the destination countries, until their return to Philippine society where they are provided reintegration support such as capital and re-tooling skills," she said.

The participants reacted in particular to the presentation of Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo, director of human resources development of the Department of Health, who detailed the Philippine experience on health workers migration management.

Buensuceso herself underscored the "aggressive stance" of the Philippines "to protect the rights and promote the welfare of its migrant workers as a co-equal pillar of its foreign policy."

Chairperson Patricia Sto. Tomas of the Development Bank of the Philippines completed the three-person Philippine delegation.

Dr. Manuel Dayrit, former Health Secretary, attended the meeting in his capacity as HRD Director of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Oslo meeting also discussed the expeditious adoption of the WHO draft Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

The Code seeks to establish ethical norms in the movement of health workers migration and ensures that both sending and host countries abide by these generally agreed upon practices. (PNA) [top]

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