Christopher Tufton | Tackling migration and the future of work in health

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Equity in healthcare is a development imperative requiring, among other things, a serious relook at how the future of work is impacted by migration within the Commonwealth.

The movement of labour across the Commonwealth countries has been part of the mechanisms used by many households for advancement. In health, these actions by individuals have resulted in gains for households that have seen economic and social progress. Migration, without a doubt, has very positive impacts on national economies and individual households.

As the world moves through the demographic transition, the pull factors related to migration have become stronger, and as developing states grapple with sustaining healthcare costs and maintaining adequate infrastructure, the push factors have become more significant.

This has resulted in a substantial depletion of the health staff within emigrating states, which inevitably will lead to a fracturing of the health system in developing and low-income countries. As an example, nursing vacancy rates are averaging 40 per cent in these countries, according to recent studies.

The future of work is, therefore, a policy area that requires transformational thinking. While this is not a new concern, recent developments pose new challenges and opportunities.

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