6 November 2023—The WHPA, represented by Julia Seyer of WMA, made the following statement at the seventh meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to develop a WHO instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response:
I am speaking on behalf of the WMA and the World Health Professions Alliance.
First we appreciate the focus around strengthening the health system, and the emphasis on safeguarding, protecting, investing in and sustaining a multi-disciplinary health and care workforce.
Second, we would like to highlight several missing elements.
- Article 6, 2 e): Post pandemic health system rehabilitation recovery strategies should also include health and care workforce.
- Article 7: The word deployment has military connotations and we suggest instead using employment, especially in 1 a).
- Article 7, 1 c): We like the protection of health workforce against infection, and violence and harassment, and it should also incorporate the provision of mental health and physical health care.
- Article 7, 1 d): We appreciate the planning of health and care workforce, but it should also include workforce planning in between pandemics to enhance training, employment and retention.
We reiterate our concerns about the absence in this text of elements to prevent unethical recruitment of health personnel, especially from countries on the WHO Workforce Support and Safeguard List. To be fully aligned with the principles of Working for Health 2022-2030 Action Plan and the Global Health and Care Worker Compact, we would encourage members state to reinstate the protection of employment, rights, safety and well-being
Excellencies, we are grateful that you have incorporated our previous comments. We will provide more detailed comments in written form by this Friday. Thank you very much.
The statement can be viewed at minute 2h42-44 in the recorded webcast of INB7 Part 2 (13.40-16.45). The WHPA also sent a more detailed open letter to the INB’s co-chairs to reinforce the oral statement and ensure that WHPA's advocacy continues to be taken into account in the negotiations.