Thursday, February 16, 2012

Emigrating doctors cost Tanzania $2 billion in brain drain

Tanzania is one of nine sub-Saharan nations which have invested nearly $2 billion in training doctors without finally seeing the benefits due to emigrating doctors and brain drainage, according to a new study. 

The study published by the British Medical Journal reports that nine sub-Saharan African countries (Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe) invested nearly $2 billion in educating medics who later emigrated to the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, or Canada. 

The receiving nations gained approximately $4.55 billion from the Sub-Saharan investments, in terms of savings from medical training which they did not finance. The familiar trend of "brain drainage should be considered a subsidy from poor to rich countries, says the study. 

The study’s aim was to calculate the lost investment of locally educated medics migrating from sub-Sahara to Canada, Australia, the UK and the US. 

Participants were nine countries from sub-Saharan Africa, all with an HIV prevalence rate of 5% or higher or with over one million persons infected with HIV/AIDS. Participants all hosted at least one medical school and could provide data on the amount of medics practising in destination countries. 

The migration of medical workers from developing nations to developed nations is a well-known contributor to fragile health systems in poor countries and is seen as a primary threat to attaining the millennium development goals for health. 

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