Physicians' leaders urge World Health Organisation to take action on medical migration

The World Health Organisation has been urged by physicians' representatives to take immediate action to tackle the growing world crisis of health care migration from developing to developed countries.

Meeting in Divonne-les-Bains, France, the World Medical Association council called on this week's meeting of the World Health Assembly to convene immediately a global workshop to discuss the crisis of medical migration.

WMA delegates from around 30 countries approved a resolution declaring that the lack of health care workers in developing countries, particularly in sub Saharan Africa, was one of the most serious global problems today.

The resolution reaffirmed WMA policy that no country should rely on immigration from other countries to meet its needs for physicians.

The resolution declared:

'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.'

The WMA said 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.

The WMA has set up a working party under the British Medical Association to consider possible solutions to the crisis.

Dr Yoram Blachar, chairman of the WMA Council, said: 'I hope that the working group's proposals will feed into next year's launch by the WHO of its human resources for health project.'