Talented health professionals from across the world are our greatest hope for realising the universal right to health in an increasingly challenging world. For this to happen, equitable access to global health training is essential. For if WHO is to be a truly global guardian of health, its workforce, and thus its interns, must be global too.
They are meant to give young people a taste of work, but traineeship are fast becoming a necessary, if poorly rewarded, precondition to launching their careers. Work placements are often abused as a form of cheap labour, with youngsters being given no training and little or no pay and sometimes being given simple, menial tasks like photocopying and making tea that do not make use of their skills and education. The European Parliament has now called for an end to this exploitation.