Friday, May 27, 2005

Britain is crippling African healthcare

BBC News:

The UK is crippling sub-Saharan Africa's healthcare system by poaching its staff, UK doctors have warned.

With the UK taking over the chair of the G8 in July, there is an ideal opportunity to stop the brain drain from poor to rich countries, they said.

The UK should encourage more home-grown doctors and limit the time period that overseas recruits can train and work in the country, they told the Lancet.

Financially compensating nations for lost staff will not work, they warned.

Nor will strategies that split the training of healthcare staff between developed and developing countries, according to Dr John Eastwood and his colleagues from St George's Medical School in London.

He said: "One basic measure would be an agreement in consultation, with the World Health Organization, to establish a basis in developed countries for minimum annual numbers of health professionals in training.

"This would help to reduce developed country reliance on the investment in training made by developing countries."

The UK does have an ethical code which means it will not actively recruit from certain developing countries, which includes sub-Saharan Africa.

However, healthcare professionals from these countries are free to apply for jobs in the UK.

In 2003, 5,880 UK work permits were approved for health and medical personnel from South Africa, 2,825 from Zimbabwe, 1,510 from Nigeria and 850 from Ghana.

Although the UK government says it is working to create more home-grown doctors to staff the NHS and bring down waiting times after decades of under-resourcing, it still relies heavily on healthcare professionals from overseas.

Nearly a third of the doctors practising in the UK were trained overseas.

UK Poaching doctors and nurses from Sub-Saharan Africa

NHS contributing to African 'brain-drain'

UK crippling Ghana's healthcare

James Johnson: Urgent: practical plan required to end this robbery

Medical staff quit for the West, leaving Africa's health service in crisis


At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the article, one could also say Africa is not doing itself any favors by failing to provide, in some cases anyway, decent working conditions for its healthcare workers.

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, there is no mention of the poor, downtrodden British NHS user, who can not afford to go private, and thus has an African doctor of questionable competence forced upon him.

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