UN Health Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to the “medical equivalency” between the medical profession and the medical supply chain, after it emerged that doctors were being paid as little as $1 an hour.

In an open letter to the UN General Assembly, Guterre called for the “immediate establishment of a universal healthcare service”, saying the “system of healthcare and public health has been corrupted” by the pharmaceutical industry.

A medical supply company that specialises in providing medical supplies to doctors told Al Jazeera that doctors “only make $1 to $2 an hour”, and that there were also problems with “insufficient training and experience”.

UN Secretary-Generals’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Response, a UN body charged with monitoring humanitarian aid, issued a report last month warning that medical supply chains were being “abused” by corrupt doctors.

According to the report, there were “serious concerns” about doctors receiving “substandard” medical equipment, and “not being adequately compensated for the work they do”.

Guterrez called for “a concerted effort to tackle the underlying issues” to protect “the human rights of medical professionals”.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Carey reports.

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