The United Kingdom should do more to help train and support health workers in developing countries in an effort to strengthen their health care infrastructures, Lord Nigel Crisp, former chief of the U.K. National Health Service, said in a report released on Tuesday, BBC News reports.
Unless their health systems are strengthened, developing countries will not be able to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals related to controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, according to the government-commissioned report.
There is a shortage of 4.3 million health workers worldwide, BBC News reports.
The report calls for NHS to establish a scholarship program that would help train health workers in developing countries. In addition, the report recommends new arrangements to support health workers who volunteer to work in developing countries to ensure that they are able to return to their jobs with no break in pension contributions.
Crisp also calls for the creation of a Web site, called the Global Health Exchange, on which developing countries can advertise their resource needs. In addition, NHS hospitals can offer redundant equipment through the Web site, and health workers can offer volunteer services, the report says.
The report also calls for a Global Health Partnership Center to act as a single informational resource for individuals and organizations seeking to help global health systems (BBC News, 2/13).
Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn and Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt welcomed the report and announced about $1.9 million over two years for the Global Health Workforce Alliance to help find solutions to health worker shortages in developing countries.
“Lord Crisp’s report demonstrates the critical role that the UK has to play in helping countries like Liberia meet the Millennium Development Goals, and is an important first step in addressing this need.”
Merlin was one of a number of agencies consulted for Lord Crisp’s report, Global Health Partnerships: The UK contribution to health in developing countries, which was commissioned by the UK Government.