Why is migration a problem for global health?

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When a country has a fragile health system, the loss of its workforce has the potential to bring the whole system to collapse, with significant consequences in terms of lives lost. From a financial perspective, when significant numbers of doctors and nurses leave, the countries that financed their education lose a return on their investment and become unwilling donors to the wealthy countries to which their health personnel have migrated.

Developing countries lose some of their most valuable health workers to richer countries. For example, 75 percent of doctors trained in Mozambique now work abroad. The majority work in Portugal (1,218) and the rest work in South Africa (61), US (20) and UK (16).*

* Human Resources for Health: New data on African Health professionals abroad.
Michael A. Clemens & Gunilla Pettersson

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