Workers on the move

07 November 2011
International Migration and Women Health and Social Care Workers Programme
Public Services International launches the South Africa national report on migration in the health and social care sectors under the theme: “Quality Healthcare and Workers on the Move.”

The report documents innovative participatory research carried out in South Africa by PSI affiliated unions under the PSI’s Programme on Women and International Migration in the Health and Social Care Sectors. The programme seeks to build the capacity of public sector trade unions in addressing the causes and impact of migration in the health and social care sectors.

South Africa is unique in the region as it is both a source and destination country of migrant workers. The country faces a healthcare crisis arising from a significant burden of disease, underfunding and understaffing of health facilities and the continuing out-migration of health and social care workers. The research shows that understaffing, low pay and poor working conditions are strong underlying factors that push health and social care workers to migrate. This is exacerbated by the absence of a coherent approach to human resources for health planning and difficulties in implementing the country’s strategic health priorities.

“Health and social care workers in South Africa want to contribute to the health and well-being of their people. They have strong loyalties and pride in their country and would prefer not to migrate if conditions were improved at home,” says Thembi Mngomezulu, PSI Southern Africa Sub-Regional Secretary. They would like the choice to migrate to be a free and informed choice, not one that is forced upon them by the economic, professional and work constraints that they face,” she stresses.

The report concludes with a set of recommendations for government and trade union action, which includes among others; campaigning for ethical recruitment of health and social care workers as provided for in existing codes and policies, particularly the WHO Code of practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
For more information, contact Thembi Mngomezulu, thembi.mngomezulu@publicservices.co.za, Mobile: +27 82 772 5417.

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