The United Kingdom has named Sierra Leone including other Asian and African countries to a red list of nations that will not be actively targeted for recruitment in health and social care.

The list comprises 54 countries, including Sierra Leone, which will not be actively pursued for recruitment by health and social care employers in the UK. The decision is based on the World Health Organisation’s 2023 Workforce Support and Safeguard List, which highlights 54 countries facing critical health workforce shortages.

The move is also in line with the Code of Practice for International Recruitment, which prohibits the active targeting of health and care professionals from developing countries.

Sierra Leone and the other countries on the list have a UHC Service Coverage Index of less than 50 and a density of doctors, nurses, and midwives that is below the global median. The UK’s revised code of practice states that health and social care organisations in England will not actively recruit from these countries unless there is a government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities.

The code applies to all international health and social care personnel appointments in the UK, including permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings.

It covers a wide range of professionals, including dentists, doctors, nursing staff, social workers, and support staff. However, being on the red list does not prevent individual health and social care personnel from independently applying to health and social care employers for employment in the UK.

The countries on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’ include Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.