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Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect on treatment of HIV/AIDS in African countries of the departure of qualified doctors and nurses from the developing world for employment in the developed world. (75683)

DFID supported analysis of the human resources for health crises in Africa for the High Level Forum for Health in November 2005. The migration of skilled health workers from poorer African countries to developed countries in Europe, the United States and elsewhere has a significant impact on the capacity of African national health services to deliver HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care. However, migration to other more developed African countries and internal migration from rural to urban areas are also important factors. Health worker shortages are exacerbated by AIDS-related mortality among the health work force. The result is an overburdened health work force and weak health systems with inadequate capacity to deliver services.

DFID is working at country level to address human resources capacity and support Governments to implement policies on retention, skill mix and deployment. For example, DFID is supporting the health sector in Malawi—one of the most severely affected countries, with £100 million over five years. About £55 million of this is earmarked for the Emergency Human Resources Programme of the Malawi Government. This programme is aiming to increase recruitment and retention of staff by raising health worker salaries by 50 per cent., providing housing and improving training. This is expected to double the number of nurses and triple the number of doctors in training—while using international volunteers to fill gaps in the meantime. DFID is also funding country HIV and AIDS programmes to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on the health workers.

DFID is also working closely with the Department of Health (DH) to address “pull” incentives, preventing the targeting of developing countries in the international recruitment of health care professionals within the NHS through the Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals.