Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-04-05-Speech-3-306"

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". Mr President, I welcome the Commissioner’s summary of the complex aspects of this problem. World Health Day is a good moment for taking stock. We have the Millennium Development Goals and many statements of good intent by governments and parliaments around the world, but unfortunately there is still a huge gap between the rhetoric and the reality on the ground. In too many places people are still dying simply because of the absence of basic medical facilities that could have saved their lives at very little cost. I will mention just one place: the equatorial region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the population is suffering a catastrophic death rate, not because of famine or even because of ongoing violence and insecurity, as is the case in the east of Congo, but simply because medical facilities are non-existent in that beautiful but inaccessible forest area. We need to take a hard look at Commission spending on health and ask why such a low percentage of the EDF budget is earmarked for the health sector, as Mr van den Berg has just pointed out. That is despite the fact that Parliament has asked for one fifth of overall development funds to go to basic healthcare and basic education. I want to turn to the issue of health workers. It is not just a question of inadequate funding: it is an area where European Member States are actively undermining the health services of developing countries by poaching their trained medical staff. Member States may have signed up to commitments not to actively recruit health workers from the poorest nations, but in practice they are finding ways round those promises. For example, the UK has the National Health Service code on recruitment of health workers, but it only applies to workers recruited by the NHS directly. The Code does not apply to nurses recruited by private agencies. Often the agency jobs are lower-skilled jobs, so those nurses do not even have the advantage of gaining specialist skills while they are in Europe. The result is devastating. In Swaziland there are about 3000 nurses and Swaziland is training about 100 per year. However, up to 80 nurses per year are leaving for the UK alone. That is on top of the huge number of Swazi nurses who are dying of Aids: 300 died of Aids in 2003-2004. Member States must close the loopholes in their codes on health worker recruitment and put in place effective health workforce planning so that they are no longer tempted to poach trained personnel from the very countries where better healthcare is so desperately needed."@en1

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