13 March 2010

Is migration at fault for poor healthcare in Africa?

You can probably guess what I think. Here is the OECD and WHO:

What is the impact of migration on less developed countries?

“In 2000, all African-born doctors and nurses working in the OECD represented no more than 12% of the total shortage for the region, as estimated by WHO. The corresponding percentage was even lower in Southeast Asia (9%). International migration is neither the main cause of healthcare shortages in developing countries, nor would its reduction be enough to address to the worldwide health human resources crisis. It is true, however, that in less developed countries that have particularly high emigration rates, emigration contributes to exacerbate the acuteness of health workforce problems and further weaken already fragile health systems.”

How can countries respond?

Source countries need to strengthen health workforce retention. Such policies should focus on rural areas, as there seems to be a link between internal and international migration. (Most international migrants come from urban areas although the most acute shortages tend to be in rural areas.)

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