Health workforce

Health workforce migration and retention

The migration of health workers affects all countries in one way or another. In some cases, health workers leave their home countries looking for better working conditions and career opportunities abroad. In others, they leave rural areas for urban ones. The result: increasingly inequitable access to health care, within and between countries.

This is why WHO and its partners are developing solutions so countries can address the twin challenges of managing migration and improving the retention of health workers.

One key element is to establish a supportive working and living environment and opportunities for professional growth so that health workers are less likely to migrate. Another is to implement the 2010 Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

WHO programme on migration and retention

Managing health workforce migration - The Global Code of Practice

Health worker migration has been increasing worldwide, especially from lower income countries with already fragile health systems. To address this situation, the World Health Assembly requested the Director-General to develop a code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel.

Increasing access to health workers in remote and rural areas through improved retention

In response to World Health Assembly resolutions and the Kampala Declaration, WHO has launched a programme of work to improve health worker retention in underserved areas. One of the key aspects of this programme is to develop a set of recommendations on increasing access to health workers in rural and remote areas through improved retention.