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Australia's international health relations in 2003

Australia's international health relations in 2003 A survey for the year 2003 of significant developments in Australia's official international health relations, and their domestic ramifications, is presented. The discussion is set within the broader context of Australian foreign policy. Sources include official documents, media reports and consultations with officers of the Department of Health and Ageing responsible for international linkages. Australia's health relations with other nations in the field Although consultation occurs with states and territories, it of health constitute an important sub-set of health policy is the Australian Government that is constitutionally not only because of the intrinsic significance of bi-lateral responsible for conducting Australia's international rela- and multilateral linkages, but also because of their ramifi- tions. These responsibilities include appointing represent- cations for health policy at the domestic level. atives to international bodies and organizations, such as the United Nations and its various agencies, including the In broad terms, these health relations encompass a range World Health Organization and assenting to agreements of interactions with consequences for health, including: and regulations promulgated by international agencies. membership of global and regional bodies; the negotia- The formulation and implementation of policy with tion of international agreements; action to counter partic- direct or indirect international health ramifications is not ular external threats to health; assistance to developing centralized, but is usually the result of consultations countries; and international trade and investment in between various relevant government departments and health-related goods and services. In 2003 there were con- statutory authorities. tinuing developments in all these areas within a wider for- eign affairs context overshadowed by official policy An important element of the Australian Government's concerns about global and regional security, the deploy- foreign affairs powers relates to international treaties. ment of the Australian armed forces in various theatres of While a degree of consultation with state and territory service, and renewed fears of the human and economic governments and with the public occurs, and the national costs of infectious diseases. Balancing these concerns with parliament is able to scrutinize and comment upon inter- national defence were renewed efforts to forge bi-lateral national treaties, it is the executive that has the final deci- trade links in global trade environment characterized by sion on such agreements. the emergence of trade blocs centred in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Page 1 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 FCTC, having been nominated by the Western Pacific WHO and other international agencies concerned with health region as vice-chair of the Bureau for the Negotiating In 2003 Australia continued to play a strategically impor- Body. tant and respected role in international organizations con- cerned with health, especially the World Health A reciprocal health care agreement with Norway was Organization. At the World Health Assembly, the govern- signed, further expanding the rights of Australian resi- ing body of the WHO, the Australian delegation sup- dents to immediate and necessary treatment in the ported resolutions concerned with strengthening nursing national health systems of countries with which Australia and midwifery and child and adolescent health. In the has reciprocal treaties. These include New Zealand, UK, wake of SARS, Australia also supported the review of the Italy, Malta, Holland, Sweden, Finland, and the Republic International Health Regulations and is likely to subscribe of Ireland. These arrangements are "cost neutral" and do to them [1]. The voluntary nature of WHO standards and not include costly accounting or administrative proce- regulations, which can be accepted or rejected by member dures. In terms of domestic policy, the continuing "inter- states, is well illustrated by the International Health Regu- nationalisation" of Medicare (pioneered by the Hawke lations since Australia and Papua New Guinea declined to Labor Party ministry at the time of Medicare's introduc- accept them when they were last promulgated. Australia tion) by the Liberal-National Party Coalition is paradoxi- should be better placed to influence developments in cal since local citizens are being encouraged to opt out of WHO in the next three years as a result of being nomi- public hospital treatment through a rebate on private nated for a term on the Executive Board. health insurance and penalties for higher income earners who do not insure privately. Whilst these agreements have The Department of Health and Ageing was closely cemented closer diplomatic ties, their potential benefits to involved with international comparative health data international travellers, especially those subject to puni- projects including WHO's World Health Survey and the tive insurance premiums or the refusal of insurance due to health systems performance survey of the Organization old age or infirmity, remain inadequately publicized. for Economic Cooperation and Development. Australia's Treaties are also being negotiated with Denmark and Bel- participation in the health mandate of the Common- gium. wealth of Nations was illustrated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration's provision of a secretariat for the Following years of negotiations and planning, a treaty was Clearing House of Commonwealth Agencies for Chemical signed with New Zealand establishing a single joint ther- Safety. Australia also participated in the meeting of Com- apeutic goods agency. This body, due to commence oper- monwealth health ministers on the eve of the annual ations in 2005, will regulate prescription and retail drugs, World Health Assembly of WHO in Geneva [2]. therapeutic devices and also complementary medicines. It will replace the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administra- International agreements tion and its New Zealand counterpart. To a large extent, In December Australia signed the Framework Convention the two regulatory systems will have been integrated, on Tobacco Control (FCTC) the first multilateral treaty although there are still areas of disagreement (e.g. policies negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organ- on the advertising of PBS medicines) which will need to ization. For the first time, nations were invited to imple- be negotiated. This joint agency creates a model in inter- ment control measures covering such issues as health national health relations which other states could profita- warnings, advertising, packaging and labelling, sales, and bly emulate where they share common concerns and have smuggling. They were also called upon to embrace policy similar health systems. In December 2002 the two coun- measures designed to counter the global tobacco epi- tries finalized treaty arrangements establishing both a demic [3]. The FCTC provided an impetus to the domestic joint standards code and a joint statutory authority, Food policies of many countries with limited progress on Standards Australia New Zealand [4]. These arrangements tobacco control and also allowed for the transnational parallel bi-lateral developments for the joint regulation of activities of tobacco corporations to be countered with food standards. global policy action. The FCTC has limited potential to further Australian domestic policy, which is in advance of These developments have furthered Australian foreign that in most countries. If necessary, the Australian Gov- policy concerned with establishing trans-Tasman free ernment could call upon its "external affairs" to assert trade, commenced some two decades ago with the negoti- constitutional primacy over this policy area. However, ation of the Closer Economic Relations agreement with this is unlikely in the context of close cooperation New Zealand. The new regulatory arrangements have cre- between various levels of government in Australia in ated a virtual trans-Tasman free market in food (subject to establishing national tobacco control policies. Australian plant and animal quarantine considerations) and thera- leadership was evident in WHO's formulation of the peutic drugs. Page 2 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 While not having the legal status of a treaty, for some years Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to discuss the the Department of Health and Ageing has had memo- situation. A task force was subsequently established by randa of understanding with its counterparts in China, APEC to deal with SARS. An example of the economic Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. In 2003 further activities costs of the disease was the decision by the Governments were undertaken under the auspices of these agreements. of Singapore and Australia to postpone negotiations on a During the state visit of China's president Hu Jinta, a plan greater share of the Sydney-Los Angeles air route (domi- of action was signed between the two health ministries. nated by QANTAS) for the Singapore carrier, due to uncer- The Indonesian relationship continued with the inclusion tainty about demand. of a health delegation to the Sixth Australia Indonesia Ministerial Forum in Jakarta in March, preceded by two In Australia SARS was declared a quarantinable disease rounds of meetings between officials of the Indonesian under the Quarantine Act 1908 and policy guidelines for and Australian health departments. The Australia-Japan health professionals, airline and border control staff and Partnership in Health and Family Services formed the the general public were developed by the Department of basis for negotiations for joint research on mental health Health and Ageing, which also led an inter-departmental and an international conference on suicide prevention task force to monitor world developments. Until July [5]. In a related development, the Department of Foreign 2003, when the WHO announced that no country was Affairs and Trade promoted aged care expertise as an still considered SARS-affected, international aircraft arriv- export service through the Australia Japan Conference. ing at Australian airports were required to obtain "SARS- free" clearance, nurses were posted at airports and restric- In the course of 2003 Australia finalized free trade agree- tions on elective surgery were placed on travellers return- ments (in reality, preferential trade agreements) with Sin- ing from affected countries [7]. During the period of gapore and Thailand and continued negotiations with the WHO's alert, Australia had reported only five probable, USA [6]. From the perspective of the Australian health and one laboratory-confirmed, case of SARS. industry, the agreement with Singapore offered tariff-free trade in pharmaceuticals and other therapeutic goods and Health and foreign aid the gradual removal of tariffs in the case of Thailand. All Australia's official international development assistance programme is an important foreign policy tool, especially countries imposed reservations on free trade in the sensi- tive areas of health services, although traditional Thai in the Asia-Pacific region. Some $225 m. (of a total of $ massage exponents will be permitted to operate in Aus- 1.8 b.) was allocated to health-related international devel- tralia. Domestically, these agreements required intersecto- opment assistance in 2003–4 budget of the Australian ral policy collaboration in the interests of health. Policy Agency for International Development (AusAID). How- makers in the Department of Health needed to intensify ever, while Australia's contribution to HIV/AIDS control their understanding of the dynamics of international and its regional advisory role associated with SARS were trade, while those making foreign policy had to consider acknowledged by the Foreign Affairs Minister in his report the health dimensions of ostensibly commercial arrange- to Parliament, health assistance received little promi- ments. nence. Security, good governance and counter-terrorism were emphasized as the focus for the official foreign aid The free trade agreement with the USA raised controver- programme. Support for essential services in Papua New sies about attempts to include the Pharmaceutical Benefits Guinea continued as a major imperative [8]. The lower Scheme (PBS) in concessions demanded by US negotia- priority of health was further underscored by a decision to tors. These issues have been outlined in the account of no longer appoint designated health advisors to the per- developments in the PBS elsewhere in this series of review manent staff of AusAID. It should be noted, however, that articles. the emergence of SARS served to reinforce health as an important element on the international assistance agenda. SARS The emergence and rapid spread of Severe Acute Respira- tory Syndrome (SARS) to several countries in East and Global health workforce mobility Southeast Asia and to Canada revived popular atavistic The fact that the domestic health workforce is now part of fears of pandemics and damaged the tourism and travel a global market for skilled workers was further demon- industry, as well as some Australian suppliers of goods strated by continuing efforts to recruit nurses from over- and services to Asia. WHO issued a global alert on the dis- seas, the decision of the Australian Health Ministers ease in March, and the last reported case of international Conference to sanction dentists from selected Common- occurred in July. So serious was the threat of SARS to the wealth countries to work in public clinics. In addition, a economies of some countries that a special meeting of scheme to recruit overseas-trained medical practitioners health ministers, attended by Australia, was organized by was included in the Australian Government's Medicare Page 3 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 9. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Medicare Plus policy initiatives [9]. It is intended that these doctors Factsheet 3. . will work in rural and remote areas officially designated as having medical workforce shortages and also in positions within Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Serv- ices. Yet, metropolitan hospitals are have also become reliant upon overseas-trained doctors for their staffing. This policy, accompanied by the liberalization of immi- gration arrangements for medical doctors, has represented a volte face from previous policies deliberately designed to discourage foreign doctors from immigrating in the belief that controlling the number of doctors would contribute to cost-containments of Medicare. It also continues to raise the ethical danger of Australia contributing to a "brain drain" of medical staff from countries that are themselves short of such expertise. In 2002 the Common- wealth of Nations had agreed to a code of practice for the international recruitment of health workers to help safe- guard the interests of developing nations. Australia has endorsed the code. The Australian Government will need to handle policies associated with the recruitment of overseas-trained health personnel with care due to professional sensitivities and the need for legislation at the state level to regularize the status of some professions. Concluding observations This brief review of Australia's international health rela- tions in 2003 has demonstrated that health must be seen as an integral part of trade and security within the wider foreign policy context. The protection of health in free trade arrangements is important for their domestic legiti- macy. It is vital that those involved in health policy are aware of its potential international dimensions, while those responsible for foreign affairs include health in their approach. Official health linkages have served to promote good will in some otherwise difficult relationships, as has been the case with Indonesia. They have also helped to promote a positive international image for Australia. Note The opinions expressed in this article are the sole respon- sibility of the author. Publish with Bio Med Central and every References scientist can read your work free of charge 1. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Annual Report 2002–03. . "BioMed Central will be the most significant development for 2. International Health, Issue 11, Winter 2003. . disseminating the results of biomedical researc h in our lifetime." 3. World Health Organization, WHO Framework Convention Sir Paul Nurse, Cancer Research UK on Tobacco Control, Geneva, 2003. . 4. International Health, Issue 10, Summer 2003. . Your research papers will be: 5. International Health, Issue 10, Summer 2003. . available free of charge to the entire biomedical community 6. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2003), WTO and Free Trade Agreements [http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade]. accessed peer reviewed and published immediately upon acceptance 26.2.04 cited in PubMed and archived on PubMed Central 7. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Media Release, 29 July 2003. . yours — you keep the copyright 8. Australian Agency for International Development (2003) BioMedcentral Submit your manuscript here: Aid Budget Summary 2003–04. . http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/publishing_adv.asp Page 4 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Australia and New Zealand Health Policy Springer Journals

Australia's international health relations in 2003

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by Barraclough; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Public Health; Social Policy
ISSN
1743-8462
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1743-8462
DOI
10.1186/1743-8462-2-3
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Abstract

A survey for the year 2003 of significant developments in Australia's official international health relations, and their domestic ramifications, is presented. The discussion is set within the broader context of Australian foreign policy. Sources include official documents, media reports and consultations with officers of the Department of Health and Ageing responsible for international linkages. Australia's health relations with other nations in the field Although consultation occurs with states and territories, it of health constitute an important sub-set of health policy is the Australian Government that is constitutionally not only because of the intrinsic significance of bi-lateral responsible for conducting Australia's international rela- and multilateral linkages, but also because of their ramifi- tions. These responsibilities include appointing represent- cations for health policy at the domestic level. atives to international bodies and organizations, such as the United Nations and its various agencies, including the In broad terms, these health relations encompass a range World Health Organization and assenting to agreements of interactions with consequences for health, including: and regulations promulgated by international agencies. membership of global and regional bodies; the negotia- The formulation and implementation of policy with tion of international agreements; action to counter partic- direct or indirect international health ramifications is not ular external threats to health; assistance to developing centralized, but is usually the result of consultations countries; and international trade and investment in between various relevant government departments and health-related goods and services. In 2003 there were con- statutory authorities. tinuing developments in all these areas within a wider for- eign affairs context overshadowed by official policy An important element of the Australian Government's concerns about global and regional security, the deploy- foreign affairs powers relates to international treaties. ment of the Australian armed forces in various theatres of While a degree of consultation with state and territory service, and renewed fears of the human and economic governments and with the public occurs, and the national costs of infectious diseases. Balancing these concerns with parliament is able to scrutinize and comment upon inter- national defence were renewed efforts to forge bi-lateral national treaties, it is the executive that has the final deci- trade links in global trade environment characterized by sion on such agreements. the emergence of trade blocs centred in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Page 1 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 FCTC, having been nominated by the Western Pacific WHO and other international agencies concerned with health region as vice-chair of the Bureau for the Negotiating In 2003 Australia continued to play a strategically impor- Body. tant and respected role in international organizations con- cerned with health, especially the World Health A reciprocal health care agreement with Norway was Organization. At the World Health Assembly, the govern- signed, further expanding the rights of Australian resi- ing body of the WHO, the Australian delegation sup- dents to immediate and necessary treatment in the ported resolutions concerned with strengthening nursing national health systems of countries with which Australia and midwifery and child and adolescent health. In the has reciprocal treaties. These include New Zealand, UK, wake of SARS, Australia also supported the review of the Italy, Malta, Holland, Sweden, Finland, and the Republic International Health Regulations and is likely to subscribe of Ireland. These arrangements are "cost neutral" and do to them [1]. The voluntary nature of WHO standards and not include costly accounting or administrative proce- regulations, which can be accepted or rejected by member dures. In terms of domestic policy, the continuing "inter- states, is well illustrated by the International Health Regu- nationalisation" of Medicare (pioneered by the Hawke lations since Australia and Papua New Guinea declined to Labor Party ministry at the time of Medicare's introduc- accept them when they were last promulgated. Australia tion) by the Liberal-National Party Coalition is paradoxi- should be better placed to influence developments in cal since local citizens are being encouraged to opt out of WHO in the next three years as a result of being nomi- public hospital treatment through a rebate on private nated for a term on the Executive Board. health insurance and penalties for higher income earners who do not insure privately. Whilst these agreements have The Department of Health and Ageing was closely cemented closer diplomatic ties, their potential benefits to involved with international comparative health data international travellers, especially those subject to puni- projects including WHO's World Health Survey and the tive insurance premiums or the refusal of insurance due to health systems performance survey of the Organization old age or infirmity, remain inadequately publicized. for Economic Cooperation and Development. Australia's Treaties are also being negotiated with Denmark and Bel- participation in the health mandate of the Common- gium. wealth of Nations was illustrated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration's provision of a secretariat for the Following years of negotiations and planning, a treaty was Clearing House of Commonwealth Agencies for Chemical signed with New Zealand establishing a single joint ther- Safety. Australia also participated in the meeting of Com- apeutic goods agency. This body, due to commence oper- monwealth health ministers on the eve of the annual ations in 2005, will regulate prescription and retail drugs, World Health Assembly of WHO in Geneva [2]. therapeutic devices and also complementary medicines. It will replace the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administra- International agreements tion and its New Zealand counterpart. To a large extent, In December Australia signed the Framework Convention the two regulatory systems will have been integrated, on Tobacco Control (FCTC) the first multilateral treaty although there are still areas of disagreement (e.g. policies negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organ- on the advertising of PBS medicines) which will need to ization. For the first time, nations were invited to imple- be negotiated. This joint agency creates a model in inter- ment control measures covering such issues as health national health relations which other states could profita- warnings, advertising, packaging and labelling, sales, and bly emulate where they share common concerns and have smuggling. They were also called upon to embrace policy similar health systems. In December 2002 the two coun- measures designed to counter the global tobacco epi- tries finalized treaty arrangements establishing both a demic [3]. The FCTC provided an impetus to the domestic joint standards code and a joint statutory authority, Food policies of many countries with limited progress on Standards Australia New Zealand [4]. These arrangements tobacco control and also allowed for the transnational parallel bi-lateral developments for the joint regulation of activities of tobacco corporations to be countered with food standards. global policy action. The FCTC has limited potential to further Australian domestic policy, which is in advance of These developments have furthered Australian foreign that in most countries. If necessary, the Australian Gov- policy concerned with establishing trans-Tasman free ernment could call upon its "external affairs" to assert trade, commenced some two decades ago with the negoti- constitutional primacy over this policy area. However, ation of the Closer Economic Relations agreement with this is unlikely in the context of close cooperation New Zealand. The new regulatory arrangements have cre- between various levels of government in Australia in ated a virtual trans-Tasman free market in food (subject to establishing national tobacco control policies. Australian plant and animal quarantine considerations) and thera- leadership was evident in WHO's formulation of the peutic drugs. Page 2 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 While not having the legal status of a treaty, for some years Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to discuss the the Department of Health and Ageing has had memo- situation. A task force was subsequently established by randa of understanding with its counterparts in China, APEC to deal with SARS. An example of the economic Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. In 2003 further activities costs of the disease was the decision by the Governments were undertaken under the auspices of these agreements. of Singapore and Australia to postpone negotiations on a During the state visit of China's president Hu Jinta, a plan greater share of the Sydney-Los Angeles air route (domi- of action was signed between the two health ministries. nated by QANTAS) for the Singapore carrier, due to uncer- The Indonesian relationship continued with the inclusion tainty about demand. of a health delegation to the Sixth Australia Indonesia Ministerial Forum in Jakarta in March, preceded by two In Australia SARS was declared a quarantinable disease rounds of meetings between officials of the Indonesian under the Quarantine Act 1908 and policy guidelines for and Australian health departments. The Australia-Japan health professionals, airline and border control staff and Partnership in Health and Family Services formed the the general public were developed by the Department of basis for negotiations for joint research on mental health Health and Ageing, which also led an inter-departmental and an international conference on suicide prevention task force to monitor world developments. Until July [5]. In a related development, the Department of Foreign 2003, when the WHO announced that no country was Affairs and Trade promoted aged care expertise as an still considered SARS-affected, international aircraft arriv- export service through the Australia Japan Conference. ing at Australian airports were required to obtain "SARS- free" clearance, nurses were posted at airports and restric- In the course of 2003 Australia finalized free trade agree- tions on elective surgery were placed on travellers return- ments (in reality, preferential trade agreements) with Sin- ing from affected countries [7]. During the period of gapore and Thailand and continued negotiations with the WHO's alert, Australia had reported only five probable, USA [6]. From the perspective of the Australian health and one laboratory-confirmed, case of SARS. industry, the agreement with Singapore offered tariff-free trade in pharmaceuticals and other therapeutic goods and Health and foreign aid the gradual removal of tariffs in the case of Thailand. All Australia's official international development assistance programme is an important foreign policy tool, especially countries imposed reservations on free trade in the sensi- tive areas of health services, although traditional Thai in the Asia-Pacific region. Some $225 m. (of a total of $ massage exponents will be permitted to operate in Aus- 1.8 b.) was allocated to health-related international devel- tralia. Domestically, these agreements required intersecto- opment assistance in 2003–4 budget of the Australian ral policy collaboration in the interests of health. Policy Agency for International Development (AusAID). How- makers in the Department of Health needed to intensify ever, while Australia's contribution to HIV/AIDS control their understanding of the dynamics of international and its regional advisory role associated with SARS were trade, while those making foreign policy had to consider acknowledged by the Foreign Affairs Minister in his report the health dimensions of ostensibly commercial arrange- to Parliament, health assistance received little promi- ments. nence. Security, good governance and counter-terrorism were emphasized as the focus for the official foreign aid The free trade agreement with the USA raised controver- programme. Support for essential services in Papua New sies about attempts to include the Pharmaceutical Benefits Guinea continued as a major imperative [8]. The lower Scheme (PBS) in concessions demanded by US negotia- priority of health was further underscored by a decision to tors. These issues have been outlined in the account of no longer appoint designated health advisors to the per- developments in the PBS elsewhere in this series of review manent staff of AusAID. It should be noted, however, that articles. the emergence of SARS served to reinforce health as an important element on the international assistance agenda. SARS The emergence and rapid spread of Severe Acute Respira- tory Syndrome (SARS) to several countries in East and Global health workforce mobility Southeast Asia and to Canada revived popular atavistic The fact that the domestic health workforce is now part of fears of pandemics and damaged the tourism and travel a global market for skilled workers was further demon- industry, as well as some Australian suppliers of goods strated by continuing efforts to recruit nurses from over- and services to Asia. WHO issued a global alert on the dis- seas, the decision of the Australian Health Ministers ease in March, and the last reported case of international Conference to sanction dentists from selected Common- occurred in July. So serious was the threat of SARS to the wealth countries to work in public clinics. In addition, a economies of some countries that a special meeting of scheme to recruit overseas-trained medical practitioners health ministers, attended by Australia, was organized by was included in the Australian Government's Medicare Page 3 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes) Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2005, 2:3 http://www.anzhealthpolicy.com/content/2/1/3 9. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Medicare Plus policy initiatives [9]. It is intended that these doctors Factsheet 3. . will work in rural and remote areas officially designated as having medical workforce shortages and also in positions within Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Serv- ices. Yet, metropolitan hospitals are have also become reliant upon overseas-trained doctors for their staffing. This policy, accompanied by the liberalization of immi- gration arrangements for medical doctors, has represented a volte face from previous policies deliberately designed to discourage foreign doctors from immigrating in the belief that controlling the number of doctors would contribute to cost-containments of Medicare. It also continues to raise the ethical danger of Australia contributing to a "brain drain" of medical staff from countries that are themselves short of such expertise. In 2002 the Common- wealth of Nations had agreed to a code of practice for the international recruitment of health workers to help safe- guard the interests of developing nations. Australia has endorsed the code. The Australian Government will need to handle policies associated with the recruitment of overseas-trained health personnel with care due to professional sensitivities and the need for legislation at the state level to regularize the status of some professions. Concluding observations This brief review of Australia's international health rela- tions in 2003 has demonstrated that health must be seen as an integral part of trade and security within the wider foreign policy context. The protection of health in free trade arrangements is important for their domestic legiti- macy. It is vital that those involved in health policy are aware of its potential international dimensions, while those responsible for foreign affairs include health in their approach. Official health linkages have served to promote good will in some otherwise difficult relationships, as has been the case with Indonesia. They have also helped to promote a positive international image for Australia. Note The opinions expressed in this article are the sole respon- sibility of the author. Publish with Bio Med Central and every References scientist can read your work free of charge 1. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Annual Report 2002–03. . "BioMed Central will be the most significant development for 2. International Health, Issue 11, Winter 2003. . disseminating the results of biomedical researc h in our lifetime." 3. World Health Organization, WHO Framework Convention Sir Paul Nurse, Cancer Research UK on Tobacco Control, Geneva, 2003. . 4. International Health, Issue 10, Summer 2003. . Your research papers will be: 5. International Health, Issue 10, Summer 2003. . available free of charge to the entire biomedical community 6. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2003), WTO and Free Trade Agreements [http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade]. accessed peer reviewed and published immediately upon acceptance 26.2.04 cited in PubMed and archived on PubMed Central 7. Department of Health and Ageing (2003) Media Release, 29 July 2003. . yours — you keep the copyright 8. Australian Agency for International Development (2003) BioMedcentral Submit your manuscript here: Aid Budget Summary 2003–04. . http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/publishing_adv.asp Page 4 of 4 (page number not for citation purposes)

Journal

Australia and New Zealand Health PolicySpringer Journals

Published: Feb 21, 2005

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