The O’Neill Institute and the World Bank's Human Development Department are working together with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to establish a multilateral solution to the Caribbean region's current health worker crisis. Presently, the Caribbean region is undergoing rapid demographic and epidemiological transition. This is due to both its large aging population and its high HIV rates. Shortages of health personnel in the region could further compound these problems resulting in devastating mortality and morbidity outcomes. In order to address this problem, the O’Neill Institute and the World Bank are advising the CARICOM nations on developing a regional legal instrument on Human Resources for Health (HRH) Sustainability that incorporates evidence-based solutions to HRH shortages.
To date, the O’Neill Institute has provided an initial report to the World Bank and CARICOM summarizing the current literature on best-practice policy measures used world-wide to prevent HRH shortages. In particular, the report focuses on four areas: achieving self-sufficiency in Caribbean health systems, regulating the international recruitment of Caribbean health workers, methods for compensating human capital losses due to outmigration, and in increasing technical assistance within the region. As well, the report outlines which of these options may or may not be compatible with both the GATS and the CSME free trade regimes. In early 2010, members from the O’Neill Institute and the World Bank met with CARICOM representatives discuss and launch the initiative. The O’Neill Institute recently prepared a second report analyzing the potential international legal instruments available to implement a regional strategy for HRH in the CARICOM. This second report is expected to be presented to the CARICOM nations in Spring 2011.