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BMA rallying cry on global health

Action on the unethical production of surgical instruments is one of the recommendations of a wide-ranging BMA report on global health published today. The report, Improving health for the world’s poor: what can health professionals do?, says that NHS workers are doing a huge amount of work to improve global healthcare but could do even more. It recommends action on a number of crucial issues, including:

– The NHS purchases millions of pounds worth of medical equipment every month, but there is no way of knowing whether the manufacturers comply with basic labour standards. The report says that concrete steps towards ethical trade have not been taken by the UK government and calls on the NHS to develop ethical purchasing guidelines.

– Building financial and resource capacity in developing countries should be the top priority for global healthcare campaigners, the report says. It calls for NHS trusts to support international health programmes.The report calls on healthcare professionals to highlight the public health dangers of climate change and to encourage NHS services to become carbon-neutral.

Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, says: “By making use of their commitment, experience and expertise, UK health workers can help make a real difference in tackling the immense challenges facing the world’s poor.”