Migrant workers are helping the fight against COVID-19
Recently, the OECD published a report on its analysis of the contribution of migrant healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found that host countries who already have the best healthcare systems, benefit the most from migrant doctors and nurses, including during pandemics.
The report also suggests the use of migrant healthcare workers compounds global health inequities, since those countries losing essential workers are often those whose own health system needs the most support.
Here in Australia, international nursing students can now work more than 40 hours a fortnight to alleviate COVID-19 related workforce pressures. Whilst international migration is neither the main cause, nor would its reduction be the solution to the worldwide health human resources crisis, it does exacerbate the acuteness of the problems in some countries. It is important not only to recognise these factors, but the value migrating workers add to our own fight against COVID-19.
The report also alludes to the fact that migrating workers, whilst valued for their skills may not always have equitable treatment in the workplace. The report recommends host countries, including Australia:
“Ensure that migrant health workers have equal working conditions with other health workers and acknowledge their contribution to the functioning of national health systems, including in the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic.”
A 2018 NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association survey of NSW culturally and linguistically diverse nurses and midwives highlighted such workplace inequities are not new, and suggests much more could be done to enhance safeguards in the workplace. You can read the full report here.
Can you assist us to make a difference?
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is seeking additional members for a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) Nurses and Midwives Professional Reference Group. The group will maintain contact through a WhatsApp chat group and meet bi-monthly, with the option to Zoom or dial in to meetings.
The group will be responsible for championing issues impacting CaLD nurses and midwives and will feed back to the NSWNMA Professional Issues Committee. The group will assist in developing and reviewing policies for the Association, and be a link between members and the Association.
Members from CaLD backgrounds, or those with a commitment to furthering CaLD issues in the workplace, and who are current financial members of the Association are welcome to join. For more information, or to express an interest contact Helen Macukewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0427 864 637.