Yet, the affordability of health care challenges most countries. The global shortages and unequal distribution of qualified health personnel are a major constraint in providing universal access to health care. Wide-spread reforms of health systems are continuously changing the employment environment for health care workers.
Decent work for health workers is essential to provide quality health care. Health services are unique and complex work environments with inherent opportunities and challenges. The ILO supports improvement of working conditions and labour relations in the health sector through sectoral labour standards and social dialogue, and collaborates with World Health Organization (WHO) to promote supportive, enabling and healthy work environments for the health workforce.
International labour standards and tools, if correctly applied, are very effective in protecting frontline health workers treating patients with potentially deadly infectious diseases, such as Ebola, says Christiane Wiskow, Senior Health Sector Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO).
An ILO-produced film documents the opportunities and obstacles on the path taken by migrant health-care workers from the Philippines. The film “Tale of a Journey: Migrant Health Workers’ Voice through images” was made by the ILO’s Decent Work across Borders (DWAB) project, funded by the European Union, and produced in partnership with the Asia Pacific Film Institute.
Joint WHO/ILO briefing note for workers and employers
Standards and tools
- C149 Nursing Personnel Convention, 1977
- R157 Nursing Personnel Recommendation, 1977
- C151 Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention, 1978
- R159 Labour Relations (Public Service) Recommendation, 1978
- R69 Medical Care Recommendation, 1944
- R202 Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)
- Improving health workers’ access to HIV and TB prevention, treatment, care and support services: a guidance note
- Joint ILO/WHO guidelines on health services and HIV/AIDS
- Social dialogue in the health services: A tool for practical guidance - The handbook for practioners
- Framework guidelines for addressing workplace violence in the health sector
- Nursing Personnel Convention: Recognize their contribution, address their needs