IFMSA recently attended the 2nd Meeting of the European Commission’s Joint Action on Health Workforce in Rome, on the 4th and 5th of December. The IFMSA delegation was constituted by Alberto Abreu Dal Silva (IFMSA Regional Coordinator for Europe), Stefano Guicciardi (European Region Development Assistant) and Elisabeth Holven (board member of the NMSA, the Norway Medical Students Association). We were also accompanied by Dr. Miguel Cabral, IFMSA alumnus and member of the IFMSA’s Supervising Council, who was invited by the organization to moderate a session, as well as Eleonora, Felice and Samantha from our italian NMO SISM-Italy.
This is a Joint Action that aims to promote the planning of human resources for health, taking into account the European needs and the different countries’ capacities and priorities. Nonetheless, it is an action open to other entities, such as physicians associations or, as IFMSA, non-governmental associations.
IFMSA has a position on Human Resources for Health, that relates this matter with the Universal Health Coverage principle, reason why it was so important for us to be present in this meeting. It is also closely related to the WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
During this event we attended every session that took place, raising questions related to medical students’ and to IFMSA’s stands. Topics such as Employment of the Health Workforce, Planning Methodologies and Data and International Recruitment of Health Personnel were addressed during these sessions.
I’d point out three big matters that relate to our positions.
- The fact that governments are aware of the possible brain-drainage that active recruitment might result in countries that lack healthcare services;
- Existence of international mechanisms that intend to avoid health inequity, but that still don’t cover regional problems, such as the ones faced in Europe;
- Complete lack of awareness of the impact that an agreement such as TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) might have on health workforce.
I got the chance to bring this last point to discussion in plenary, during which I raised awareness among the members of the different governments about the potential negative impact that the TTIP might bring to healthcare access and services. This ended up being one of the most discussed topics in plenary reason why I believe that was very impactful and meaningful for health in Europe.
IFMSA will continue accompanying the works of this Joint Action, namely during the Assembly of this event that will take place in Madrid, on the 23rd of March 2015.