October 27, 2005

Devastating Exodus of Doctors From Africa and Caribbean Is Found

A new study documents for the first time the devastating exodus of doctors from Africa and the Caribbean to four wealthy English-speaking nations, the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, which now depend on international medical graduates for a quarter of their physicians.
The findings are being published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study is likely to fuel an already furious debate about the role the developed world is playing in weakening African public health systems that have already been hit with pandemics that have shortened life expectancies in some countries.
Dr. Agyeman Akosa, the director general of Ghana's health service, said in a phone interview from Geneva, where he is attending a World Health Organization forum on the global medical staffing crisis, that his country's public health system was virtually collapsing because it was losing not just many of its doctors, but its best ones.
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 The New England Journal of Medicine Report: "The Metrics of the Physician Brain Drain" "I have at least nine hospitals that have no doctor at all, and 20 hospitals with only one doctor looking after a whole district of 80,000 to 120,000 people," Dr. Akosa said. Women in obstructed labor all too often suffer terrible complications or death for lack of an obstetrician, he said.
The biggest losers are the small to medium-size countries of Africa and the Caribbean. Dr. Mullan's research found that Jamaica, for example, has lost 41 percent of its doctors and Haiti 35 percent, while Ghana has lost 30 percent and South Africa, Ethiopia and Uganda 14 to 19 percent.
This brain drain is occuring not only in the Carribean but also in the Philippines

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A large part of the problem is also the attitudes of some caribbean governments towards Education. I am a Jamaican doctor currebtly in the USA. Dermatology Residency is not available in Jamaica, and I requested sponsorship to study Dermatology overseas. Despite the lack of Dermatologists in public health care, my excellent academic track record, and my desire to return to work at home and the existence of funds specifically for this purpose, my request was denied. This at a time when there is a scandal on the misappropriation of several million dollars paid for energy conserving light bulbs when they had actually been donated to the country free of cost by Cuba. Why should we stay?