Reviewing the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel

Human Resources for Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and the Global Health Workforce Alliance  is pleased to invite you to submit a manuscript to a new supplement entitled “Reviewing the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel”


On May 21, 2010 the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (the “Code”) was adopted by the 193 Member States of the World Health Organization.  This landmark non-binding instrument generated much enthusiasm and expectation from all stakeholders: Member States, health personnel, health professional organizations, NGOs, and recruiters/employment agencies.


The Code is a global response to a global problem that was designed by countries to serve as a continuous and dynamic framework for global dialogue and cooperation to address challenges associated with the international migration of health personnel.

The aim of the invited research is to gather new evidence on the relevance and effectiveness of the Code since its adoption in 2010, and inform the five-year review of the Code, scheduled for the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2015[1].


Broadly, the taxonomy suggested are:


Relevance: The extent to which the principles outlined in the Code are consistent with the requirements of the country needs, global priorities and the policies of partner organizations and donors. Does the Code remain relevant to in advocating the fundamentals of HRH development in a changed circumstances of global economic and social affairs?


Effectiveness: The extent to which the implementation of the Code’s principles have influenced actions and policies addressing HRH development (such as those related to planning, deployment, recruitment, retention and education) at the country-, regional- and global-level. Is there evidence that countries are changing directives and policies aimed at HRH development in a “Code-friendly” manner? It is also important to reflect real changes taking place resulting from similar initiatives and instrument but different to the Code.


The supplement will be published ahead of the 68th WHA to  guide WHO member states to whether amendments are necessary to the Code that will enrich the potency of its widely accepted principles and make real its aspirational values.

Key overarching questions to be addressed include:

  • The Code is global in scope. What is the evidence of successful communications and advocacy in countries raising awareness of all governments, as well as private sector stakeholders, including health workers and recruiters, regarding the Code.
  • The Code as a proponent of effective HRH development:
  1. Are there any highlights of countries implementation of effective domestic workforce planning and retention strategies to sustain a health workforce that is appropriate for the specific conditions of each country stemming dependencies on international health personnel.
  2. The extent of addressing the education and training  needs in countries that has generated in some settings a sustained “root-cause” state of passive recruitment of foreign health personnel. For example, in some countries there is emerging evidence of the tendency of some countries in training international migrants as an important factor in the international mobility of health workers (OECD, 2014)
  • In some settings ongoing efforts in strengthening governance capacities to develop, implement and monitor HRH  strategies and interventions – what are the essential elements of success and how are these currently reflected (or not) in the Code.
  • Has the Code influenced evidence-based policy dialogue and increased investments in HRH (such as those aimed at HRH information systems) including improving aid effectiveness.
  • In articulation, does the Code provide enough attention and prominence to the economics governing the HRH labour markets and the implication for financing HRH plans ?
  • Deriving common benefits: Has the Code served its goal in encouraging collaboration between destination and source countries that are respectful of workers’ rights, responsibilities and recruitment practices and are of mutual gains and dividends.
  • Has the Code influenced information availability and exchange (on recruitment practices, laws and regulations,…etc) nationally and internationally that can improve the understanding of health workforce mobility?
  • Enhancements to the Code: Developed in a strong spirit of multilateralism and goodwill amongst member states, what has been the global uptake of the Code by other sectors and the global health initiatives – has the Code succeeded in shaping commitments at the national, regional and global level to improve the State of the Health Workforce world-wide?


Contributions that address the above topics are welcomed; the submission of relevant country experiences is particularly encouraged. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2015. Manuscripts should respect the Guidelines for contributors (available at and mention this call for papers in the cover letter. All submissions will be peer-reviewed.  Authors should provide the following code in the institutional membership option on the payment page of the manuscript submission system TC01586017.

[1] Item (2) Document WHA63.16 – WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel


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