Thursday, January 10, 2008

Health Brain Drain

Many African countries now have more doctors and nurses working in richer countries abroad than they have at home . The study, carried out by the Center for Global Development in Washington, looked at census records collected between 1999 and 2001. It examined nine receiving countries: The UK, the US, France, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and South Africa.

Several countries, including Mozambique and Angola, have more doctors in one single foreign country than at home. And for every doctor in Liberia, there are two working abroad.

The loss of doctors often went hand-in-hand with civil strife, political instability and economic stagnation. Angola, Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sierra Leone all experienced civil war in the 1990s and all had lost 40% of their doctors by 2000.
Countries such as Kenya which experienced economic stagnation in the late 20th Century and Zimbabwe, which saw political repression as well as economic problems, saw more than half of their doctors leave.

At the same time countries with greater stability and prosperity, such as Botswana managed to keep many of their doctors .

But so did very poor countries such as Niger .The researchers speculated this could be to do with destitute countries not producing large numbers of would-be doctors with the financial capital or connections to leave.

UK Home Office figures show that 17,620 African doctors and nurses joined the NHS last year.

The charity ActionAid said the brain drain was "a huge threat" to Africa.

"One of the best way to keep healthcare professionals in the countries that need them is to pay them properly - but currently health systems in many African countries are woefully underfunded," said Nick Corby, policy officer at the charity.

Mozambique - 75%
Angola - 70%
Ghana - 56%
Kenya - 51%
Rwanda - 43%
Sudan - 13%
Niger - 9%

1 comment:

blackstone said...

Wow, those numbers are very revealing