They are our heroes during this global pandemic. So, it couldn’t be more appropriate that the Member States of the World Health Organization unanimously designated 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers.

This designation will further shine a spotlight on the dedication and sacrifice of the millions of health and care workers at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic in Derry, Strabane, Northern Ireland and across the world.

In appreciation of their work, we should continue to adhere to the new lockdown and social distancing guidelines. We have to play our part to reduce the strain on these critical workers at a time when they are under a lot of pressure due to rising hospital admissions.

Poster with advice on staying safe from coronavirus

Addressing health worker challenges

As well as dedicating 2021 as the Year of Health and Care Workers, WHO Member States and Non-State Actors in unison, spoke to the critical role of health and care workers in ensuring our health and prosperity. They emphasised the urgency and imperative to address persistent health worker challenges.

As part of the ten-year anniversary and review of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (Code), the World Health Assembly discussed the increasing scale of international health worker migration.  Member States recognised the high relevance of the Code, particularly in the context of Covid-19, and called for its’ strengthened implementation. 

Further, Member States expressed commitment to the ethical principles and practices of the Code, urging prioritisation of support and safeguards for the countries with the greatest vulnerability, including greater investment.

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