WHO INB9 – PSI Joint Statement with Civil Society Allies

PSI, World Medical Association and Medicus Mundi issued a joint statement that will be submitted today to the INB on Article 7 (Health and Care Workforce) of the draft negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement.

“The Pandemic Agreement is an important opportunity to strengthen existing normative frameworks to promote safety, decent work and social protection for all health and care workers on the frontlines of health emergencies and pandemics.” 

This is the key message delivered jointly by Public Services International, World Medical Association and Medicus Mundi with reference to Article 7. Health and Care Workforce of the draft negotiating text of the World Health Organization Pandemic Agreement.

The three organizations expressed their concern that the overall level of legally binding regulation on the health and care workforce remains weak, with phrases in the text indicating reservations vis-à-vis national law and circumstances.

They challenged Member States to raise the level of ambition by removing these reservations, and directly committing to the application of existing international normative frameworks, such as the WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, the International Labour Organizations’ Core Labour Standards, and other international norms, codes and standards.

While welcoming language in the proposed text addressing inequalities and discrimination, including issues related to gender and youth, they also called for addressing harassment and violence, particularly gender-based violence (GBV) that disproportionately affects women health and care workers. 

PSI, WMA, MMI welcome the emphasis in the current text on the meaningful representation and engagement of all health and care workers in the context of health emergencies, and urged Member States to institutionalise this in effective social dialogue. They also supported the inclusion of measures for decent work and safety and health standards for other essential workers that provide essential public goods and services during pandemics. 

The full statement is found here.