The United Kingdom has included 37 African countries among 54 countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.
This announcement was made by the UK Government in its revised code of practice for international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England, which was published on the NHS Employers website.
The code states that some developing countries, such as Ghana, should not be targeted when actively recruiting health or care professionals.
A total of 37 countries were listed under the African Region category, including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Gabon.
Others were Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.”
All 54 countries placed on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’ under the code are Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia.
Other countries are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Titled, “Code of Practice red and amber list of countries,” the UK Government said the list is based upon the World Health Organisation Workforce Support and Safeguard List, 2023 and will be updated alongside progress reports on WHO Global Code implementation and reported to the World Health Assembly every three years.
The countries listed have a UHC Service Coverage Index that is lower than 50 and a density of doctors, nurses and midwives that is below the global median (48.6 per 10,000 population).
The code applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in the UK, including all permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings.
The code stated that being on the list doesn’t prevent individual health and social care personnel from independently applying to health and social care employers for employment in the UK, of their own accord and without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or employer (known as a direct application).
It defined active international recruitment in the code as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and sub-contractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities, with the intention of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector.
It includes both physical or virtual targeting, and whether or not these actions lead to substantive employment.
This includes but is not limited to allied health professionals, care workers, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff.
It will be recalled that in March this year, the WHO included Ghana and 54 other countries on its Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List 2023.
The global health body stated that the countries face the most pressing health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage.
“In particular, these countries have: 1) a density of doctors, nurses and midwives below the global median (i.e., 49 per 10 000 population); and 2) a universal health coverage service coverage index below a certain threshold,” WHO said in the report released March 8.
“To account for the disruptions caused to health services by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects on health worker mobility and migration, the threshold for the universal health coverage service coverage index for the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list 2023 has been increased from 50 (the value used for the 2020 list) to 55.”