Bulletin #57: Mozambique, Nigeria strikes highlight global health workers shortages

This fortnight  

On August 21, the Mozambican Medical Association declared an extension of its strike for an additional three weeks, thereby prolonging the industrial action that was initiated in the first half of July. The doctors are advocating for improvements in their working conditions and increased investment in the public health system, while health services continue to struggle with the effects of the debt imposed on Mozambique by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Similar health worker actions are occurring in Nigeria. Nurses, doctors, and other health professionals remain concerned about the high rates of emigration, which have led to a shortage of staff in the country. While certain associations, such as the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, believe that increasing government health expenditure could provide a solution, some high-ranking figures are suggesting the privatization of the health sector.

The Iraqi health system is becoming increasingly aware of the impacts of privatization on healthcare access. Over the past decade, the private health sector has grown significantly. However, it has made no contribution in restoring the quality of primary health care that was present in Iraq before the introduction of sanctions in the 1990s.

Countries in the Global North are growing increasingly concerned about their own shortage of health workers, a problem predicted to worsen in the coming decades. Among the high-income countries which have turned to international recruitment as a potential solution, Germany is among the most active ones. After a recent thematic meeting between the German Minister of Labor and their Brazilian counterpart, health activists have warned that this approach will exacerbate the situation in the countries from which health workers are migrating.

In Germany, health professionals have also voiced criticism regarding elements of the government's proposed hospital reform. They argue that the government's plans will only further promote the commercialization of healthcare and do little to genuinely improve access to care for the people. To truly enact meaningful hospital reform, the Association of Democratic Doctors and their allies emphasize the necessity for a complete shift in focus.

A different approach to organizing the health care system emerges from Kerala, where the COVID-19 response has demonstrated how care can be delivered in a manner that prioritizes the needs of the people. We bring a video interview with the former health minister, KK Shailaja, who steered the health system in the Indian state amidst multiple crises.

Mozambique’s health system is in turmoil

Strikes among health workers and stockouts of essential medical products point to a need for more investment in the National Health Service in Mozambique

Health workers in Nigeria call for a proactive policy to deal with high emigration rates

Amid mounting challenges, health workers in Nigeria have rallied for reforms and fair treatment, advocating for a strengthened system and increased government action to address high emigration and cost of living

Iraqi health system struggles to recover after three decades of setbacks

20 years after the US-led invasion, Iraq’s health system struggles in the face of workforce shortages, corruption, and a growing private sector. This situation is aggravated by long gaps in constructing new health infrastructure

Will Germany’s bid to address shortage of nurses put more pressure on Brazil’s health system?

As Germany seeks to recruit overseas nurses to bridge its healthcare staff deficit, questions are arising about the strategy’s impact on the health systems of source countries

Hospital reform in Germany: revolution, reform, or label redesign?

As lawmakers in Germany undertake hospital reform, health workers’ associations and others warn that it fails to address impact of commercialization of health

Video: KK Shailaja on battling COVID-19, transforming Kerala’s healthcare, and her life as a comrade

Former Health Minister of the Indian State of Kerala KK Shailaja talks about the State’s effective and inspiring response to COVID, the model of development that enabled it, and her life as a communist

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