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The African Medical Brain Drain

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:32pm

... is apparently not significantly different from the African brain drain in other professions.

A new study quantifies in a more accurate way the origins and destinations of African doctors and nurses.

It is not surprising that the African countries from which, percentage-wise, most African doctors and nurses originate are countries with current or recent conflicts, but what is interesting in the difference in countries of origin between the two professions:

Doctor top 6 origin list:

Mozambique



Guinea-Bissau



Angola



Liberia



Equatorial Guinea



Sao Tome e Principe

Nurse top 6 origin list:

Liberia



Burundi



Gambia



Mauritius



Sierra Leone



Sao Tome e Principe

Clearly, in our Doctor List the first four are from conflict countries. No. 5 is probably the most repressive in Africa.

In our Nurses List I am not surprised by nos. 1 and 2 and 5. Again conflict zones. But nos. 3 and 4 are calm and collected.

Oh, and no. 6 in both lists ... no fucking comment.

The differences must be based on socio-economic and educational differences in different countries.

A few off-the-cuff remarks:

- Gambia and Mauritius nurses are probably well-trained in good programmes in their own countries.

- it is easier and cheaper, and a wiser healthcare strategy, to train nurses than doctors when you want to spread basic primary healthcare. Drs Rant and Crippen have made many criticisms of Nurse Practitioners in the UK but it does make sense in Africa.

- I am surprised that the D.R. Congo is so far down both the Doctors' and Nurses' lists given its recent history.

- on the recent Ama Sumani case, certain UK politicians have pointed to the deficiencies in the Ghanaian healthcare system and that the solution to cases such as Ama´s should lie in improvements to the Ghanaian health system. I couldn´t agree more ...

I will draw their attention to the DWIB Leukaemia Fund which is struggling to support the establishment of bone marrow donation and transplants in Ghana.

I will also draw their attention to the fact, as did the BBC´s Correspondent , that 56% of Ghanaian doctors, and 24% of Ghanaian nurses work overseas. 590 doctors (20,1 % of Ghanaian doctors) and 2381 (16% of Ghanaian nurses) are working in the UK.

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