WHO to Offer Financial Assistance to Interns

[25 May 2018]

Wonderful news coming out of the the 71st World Health Assembly! Algeria, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines and South Africa put forth the draft proposal ‘Reform of the Global Internship Programme and it passed without objections!

That means, Member states have requested the WHO to…

  • “Strengthen a transparent, merit-based intern recruitment process.”
  • “The setting of a target that by 2022, at least 50% of accepted interns on the programme originate from least developed countries and middle-income countries.”
  • “The provision by the Secretariat of financial, *as soon as possible and no later than 2020*, and where applicable, in-kind assistance, including through collaboration with host countries, for all accepted interns without sufficient existing support, at a level set for the duty station, to cover reasonably incurred travel and living expenses for the duration of the internship.

“And I’ve also listened to the concerns raised by our interns. Interns make an enormous contribution to WHO’s work, and the experience they gain is an important investment in building country capacity.

But I have to be honest: we must treat our interns much better than we do. Too often we use them as free labour, rather than an investment in youth, and in developing the health leaders of the future.

We have already taken some steps towards improving conditions for our interns, like giving them health insurance, lunch vouchers – very simple – and the same rights to time off as staff. And we are also considering paying a stipend by 2020 to interns who lack the financial resources to support themselves.”

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, during the World Health Assembly (WHA), 21 May 2018.

Congratulations to all present and past interns who have campaigned tirelessly for this momentous occasion!

Draft Resolution A71/B/CONF./1

Financial and administrative implications of Draft Resolution A71/B/CONF./1 Add.1

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