IHP news #407
By The editorial team on February 24, 2017 Dear Colleagues,
This week’s intro focuses on the recent Global Intern Strike, part of an important campaign to address unpaid and poor quality internships.
“We know how important workforce planning is when it comes to midwives, nurses, community health workers, doctors, specialists, and other healthcare providers. But there seems to be less focus on effective workforce planning at the research and policy side of health systems strengthening. A symptom of this was observed this past Monday as hundreds of interns walked out of their over-crowded, under-ventilated offices and participated in the Global Intern Strike. Protests outside UN and EU buildings across New York, Brussels, Geneva and other cities asked for “just pay,” pointing to the inequity caused by unpaid internships. The issue is beyond one of “unpaid is unfair.” It perpetuates systemic barriers that keep certain groups at the margins of global corridors of power. Even if a student manages to break through the competition created by peers with a lifetime of higher access to resources, in order to be selected for an internship, it is unlikely that he/she could afford the living costs implied in a zero-sum contract. The Fair Internship Initiative reports basic living expenses of 1674 USD a month in New York, 1391 USD in DC, and 1175 USD in Geneva, with 76% of unpaid interns stating that they could not afford the internship without support from their families. It is not surprising then that the same 2016 survey reports 77% of UN interns’ countries of origins are high income, 14% upper middle, 7% lower middle and 2% low income. Internships are meant to open doors for job opportunities and advanced education. Extrapolate these numbers to the global research and policy workforce and they paint a picture of inequity. Improved forecasting of workforce needs and early career support to match these – while ensuring equity principles are upheld – are important pieces of the systems strengthening puzzle. It’s time we paid both attention and money.”
This week’s featured article (by EVs 2016 Robinson Karuga, Dolorosa Duncan and Charles Ssemugabo) provides some of the main messages from a symposium in Kampala, Uganda, dedicated to key members of the health workforce, community health workers (CHWs).
Enjoy your reading.
The editorial team
(you find the pdf-version of the newsletter here: IHPn407 )
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