Karinne Lantz

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Health professional migration, Healthcare delivery and human rights


This article will address the issue of health professional migration, with a specific focus on how this migration affects health systems in developing countries. The central question being examined is whether or not states have an obligation to ensure that their policies – or actions by private actors based in their states – do not undermine the delivery of healthcare in other states. After exploring this obligation, this article will analyze how the issue may be effectively addressed by drawing upon the experience of the United Kingdom; how successful has the U.K. been in meeting its obligation? What are the most effective policy responses for developed states to implement? By framing this problem as a human rights issue, it will be argued that developed countries have a moral and legal responsibility to mitigate the negative effects of active recruitment of health professionals from developing countries. In light the U.K.’s experience, Canada’s potential role in undermining human rights in developing countries will be examined and policy recommendations will be made.

Although the issue is complex, this policy analysis will centre on the unmet demand for health professionals as a primary driver of international migration, as it is argued that this factor may be most effectively addressed by developed states.

Publication Abbreviation

Paterson Rev Int'l Affairs