Side Meetings


Strengthening Local Health Systems in Asia-Pacific Nations to Address the Impact of International Migration of Health Workforces


  • 09:00 - 17:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 1


  • 09:00 - 12:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 1

  • Contact Person : Chawisar Janekrongtham,

  • Asia Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH)

The Asia-Pacific region is home to diverse healthcare systems, ranging from highly developed and well-resourced systems in countries like Japan and Australia to resource-constrained systems in many low- and middle-income countries across the region. In this dynamic healthcare landscape, healthcare workforce migration has emerged as a prominent and complex issue. This phenomenon refers to the movement of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other allied health workers, across borders within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The patterns and drivers of healthcare workforce migration in this region are multifaceted and have significant implications for both the source and destination countries.

This migration has led to concerns about skill and brain drain in source countries, straining their healthcare systems and affecting service delivery. In response to this tangle, regulatory frameworks for health-care labor migration and international governance mechanisms have emerged differently, with some countries putting in place lax regulations to encourage foreign professionals, while others prioritize the protection of their own workforce. Furthermore, ethical dilemmas arise as source countries question the ethics of recruiting healthcare workers needed at home, while destination countries grapple with issues of cultural competency and equitable treatment for foreign healthcare workers.

Healthcare workforce migration can exacerbate health inequities within and between countries. Source countries, particularly in rural areas, often face a shortage of healthcare providers, resulting in limited access to quality healthcare services for vulnerable populations. The management of healthcare workforce migration requires coordinated efforts at regional, national, and international levels. Policies that balance the needs of both source and destination countries are essential, as well as collaboration to ensure ethical recruitment practices and workforce planning.

Asia Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH) is a regional partnership mechanism. It organizes learning and sharing knowledge related to human resource for health (HRH) and strengthening HRH capacities among the 22 member countries across Asia-Pacific regions. Its regional expertise, networks, advocacy capabilities, and capacity for collaboration make it well-positioned to lead the discussion and action on the international migration of HRH. Efforts to address this critical issue would also suit best for being a platform for better collaboration within and across the region, understanding international governance mechanisms, being strong voices, and documenting domestic policies to came across international migration issues.  By doing so, this movement would address and define domestic solutions instead of relying on the influence and decision-making from the external.

The international migration of HRH like a double-edged sword for formerly colonized countries.  It widens inequalities and power imbalances between former colonial and imperial powers and formally colonized countries, and addressing this serious issue echoes the goals of global health and decolonization highlighted at the 2024 Mahidol Price Award Conference (PMAC).  Being a side topic of the sub-themes of decolonization of global health governance of the PMAC 2024 would be a great opportunity to synthesize efforts to alleviate the burdens it imposes. Through the documentation of the win-win-win scenarios model, analysis of barriers and preventive measures, establishment of frameworks and guidelines for comprehensive collaboration, agreement on a strategic plan, we aim to make a significant contribution to strengthening local health systems in Asia-Pacific nations to effectively address the impact of the international migration of health workforces.

  • To strengthen local health systems in response to international migration in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • To share regional unique needs, challenges, and initiatives to address the power disparity resulting from decolonization to obtain relevant support from global organizations.
  • To facilitate intraregional and interregional collaborations to manage health workforce mobility better.