Doctors being trained in Africa then leaving to practice abroad have cost sub-Saharan countries in the continent $2 billion according to new research.
The study by Canadian scientists found that South Africa and Zimbabwe suffer the worst economic losses due to investing in training doctors who then emigrate.
Meanwhile, Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States benefit the most from recruiting doctors trained abroad.
The scientists, led by Edward Mills, chair of global health at the University of Ottawa called on destination countries to recognise this imbalance and invest more in training and developing health systems in the countries that lose out.
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"Many wealthy destination countries, which also train fewer doctors than are required, depend on immigrant doctors to make up the shortfall," Mills' team stated in the study published in the British Medical Journal.
"Developing countries are effectively paying to train staff who then support the health services of developed countries."
Known as “brain drain”, the problem worsens already weak health systems in low-income countries which already struggle with HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB epidemics.
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