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Bull World Health Organ. 2013 Nov 1;91(11):816-23. doi: 10.2471/BLT.13.118778.

Monitoring the implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

Author information

Human Resources for Health, Health Systems Policies and Workforce, World Health Organization, avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland .
Department of Country Focus, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland .
Department of Global Health, Directorate of Health, Oslo, Norway .
Human Resources for Health, World Health Organization, Manila, Philippines .
Health Human Resources Development Bureau, Department of Health, Manila, Philippines .
Policy and Network, Planning and Standards Division, Department of Health, Manila, Philippines .
Promoting Decent Work Across Borders: A Project for Migrant Health Professionals and Skilled Workers, International Labour Organization, Philippines .
Regional Office for Europe, World Health Organization, Copenhagen, Denmark .
Social Medicine Institute, University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil .


in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish


To present the findings of the first round of monitoring of the global implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel ("the Code"), a voluntary code adopted in 2010 by all 193 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO).


WHO requested that its Member States designate a national authority for facilitating information exchange on health personnel migration and the implementation of the Code. Each designated authority was then sent a cross-sectional survey with 15 questions on a range of topics pertaining to the 10 articles included in the Code.


A national authority was designated by 85 countries. Only 56 countries reported on the status of Code implementation. Of these, 37 had taken steps towards implementing the Code, primarily by engaging relevant stakeholders. In 90% of countries, migrant health professionals reportedly enjoy the same legal rights and responsibilities as domestically trained health personnel. In the context of the Code, cooperation in the area of health workforce development goes beyond migration-related issues. An international comparative information base on health workforce mobility is needed but can only be developed through a collaborative, multi-partnered approach.


Reporting on the implementation of the Code has been suboptimal in all but one WHO region. Greater collaboration among state and non-state actors is needed to raise awareness of the Code and reinforce its relevance as a potent framework for policy dialogue on ways to address the health workforce crisis.

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