Coronavirus: Accessibility of rich countries to foreign nurses’ ethical concerns

GENEVA – The wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by Omicron has led wealthy nations, including Canada, to increase their recruitment of nurses from poorer parts of the world, exacerbating staff shortages. exacerbated by the strained workforce there, the International Council of Nurses said.

Howard Catton, CEO of the Geneva-based group, which represents 27 million nurses and 130 national organisations, said: “Illnesses, burnout and staff departures amid the cases Omicron increase.

To close the gap, Western countries have responded by hiring military personnel as well as volunteers and retirees, but many are also increasing international recruitment as part of a trend that is exacerbating the situation. health inequality, he continued.

“We’ve totally seen an increase in international hiring going to places like the UK, Germany, Canada and the US,” Catton said in an interview with Reuters based on a report he co-authored on COVID- 19 and the global nursing workforce.

“I’m really scared about this ‘quick fix’ – it’s a bit like what we’ve seen with PPE (personal protective equipment) and vaccines where rich countries have used economic power. their economy to buy and hoard – if they do that with the nursing workforce it will only make inequality even worse.”

Even before the pandemic, there was a global shortage of 6 million nurses, with nearly 90% of those shortages in low- and middle-income countries, according to ICN data, according to ICN data.

Some of the recent hires to wealthy nations are from sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and parts of the Caribbean, Catton said.

The ICN report says the process is also being facilitated by giving priority immigration status to nurses.

“The bottom line is that some people are going to look at this and say these are rich countries that are reducing the cost of training new nurses and healthcare workers,” he said.

Mr Catton warned even wealthy nations would struggle to cope with “mountains of unmet care work” as the pandemic hits, calling for more investment and better planning. 10-year plan to strengthen the workforce.

“We need a concerted, collaborative global effort, underpinned by serious investment, not just warm words, accolades and applause,” he said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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