By Lambwe Kachali
UPND Zambezi MP Charles Kakoma has called on the European Union (EU) member states to ensure their migration polices do not undermine the availability of health professionals in third-world countries.
Mr Kakoma who is the Co-Rapporteur for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States committee on Social Affairs, told the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels yesterday that while it was important to respect individual freedom of movement, EU member states should critically relook at their migration policies.
He said it was incredibly shocking that despite spending more resources on educating and training of health workers, ACP countries had continued to face critical shortages of health practitioners.
Mr Kakoma observed that after training, most health professionals in ACP countries migrate to Europe in search of greener pasture, a trend which should be discouraged.
The Zambian legislator said there was serious need to find a lasting solution in order to avert the human resource crisis in ACP countries.
He called on ACP member states to prioritise medical and health responsibilities in their respective national plans.
Mr Kakoma said: “To this end, the shortcomings of human resource in the health sector in ACP countries should be addressed by ACP countries without delay; I call on ACP countries to meet the 2001 Abuja target to commit 15% of national budgets to health.”
He however urged EU member states to continue supporting ACP countries financially and technically in order to develop national health plans.
The Zambian law maker recognised the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the provision of healthcare services.
“May I also recognise the important role of the civil society, local authorities, public health non-profit organisations and volunteers’ organisations in complementing public health system,” said Mr Kakoma.
Lambwe Kachali is the First Secretary (Press & Public Relations) Embassy of the Republic of Zambia Brussels, Belgium