WMA Council Resolution on the healthcare Skills Drain


Adopted by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005
and rescinded at the 66th WMA General Assembly, Moscow, Russia, October 2015 

Recognising that the lack of healthcare workers in developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the most serious global problems of today and that the impact of healthcare worker migration from developing to developed countries is a significant component in the crisis,

Therefore, be it resolved:

  1. That the WMA reaffirms its 2003 Statement on Ethical Guidelines for the International Recruitment of Physicians, particularly para. 14: "Every country should do its utmost to educate an adequate number of physicians, taking into account its needs and resources. A country should not rely on immigration from other countries to meet its need for physicians"; and para. 15: "Every country should do its utmost to retain its physicians in the profession as well as in the country by providing them with the support they need to meet their personal and professional goals, taking into account the country's needs and resources."

  2. That developed countries must assist developing countries to expand their capacity to train and retain physicians and nurses, to enable developing countries to become self-sufficient.

  3. That action to combat the skills drain in this area must balance the right to health of populations (Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 25.1; International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1976), Article 12.1.) and other individual human rights.

  4. That the WMA reconvene the expert working group on physician resources to coordinate development of WMA input to WHO preparations for the decade on human resources for health.

  5. That the WMA commend WHO for taking a leadership role in the global challenges of human resources for health; commend to WHO the afore-mentioned principles (1, 2 and 3); and call upon WHO to convene a global roundtable to discuss HHR issues.