Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice

Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice, Millbank Memorial Fund, 2011

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 569

122 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2011 Last revised: 5 Dec 2014

See all articles by Paula O'Brien

Paula O'Brien

University of Melbourne - Law School

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Date Written: November 28, 2011

Abstract

The world is experiencing a serious human resource shortage in the health sector, which the World Health Assembly calls “a crisis in health”. This Report systematically explains the human services crisis, particularly in the world’s poorest countries. The Report considers the complex mix of factors that cause the global shortage of health workers. We demonstrate why no single country, acting alone, can solve the human resources crisis. In short, a country’s health workforce is not determined only by decisions of its national government. Policy choices in one country often have consequences for the health workforce in other countries.

We give particular attention to the policy positions of rich countries that contribute to the extreme shortages in much poorer countries. We recommend a range of policy interventions that rich countries, particularly the United States, should make to alleviate workforce shortages domestically and globally. Our recommendations are based on the best-available evidence as to what interventions are most likely to be successful in addressing the causes and consequences of the shortage. They are also predicated on a normative analysis of the legal rights and obligations, as well as moral interests and claims, of governments, health workers, and users of health services.

Keywords: health workforce, shortages, United States

JEL Classification: I18, I19, K32

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Paula and Gostin, Lawrence O., Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice (November 28, 2011). Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice, Millbank Memorial Fund, 2011; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 569. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1965786

Paula O'Brien (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

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