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African Journal of Health Sciences
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
ISSN: 1022-9272
Vol. 13, No. 3-4, 2006, pp. 1-12
Bioline Code: jh06022
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Health Sciences, Vol. 13, No. 3-4, 2006, pp. 1-12

 en The Cost of Health-related Brain Drain to the WHO African Region
Kirigia, Joses M; Gbary, Akpa R; Nyoni, Jennifer; Seddoh, Anthony & Muthuri, Lenity K


The African Region continues to experience loss of a sizeable number of highly skilled health professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists) to Australia, North America and European Union. Past attempts to estimate cost of migration were limited to education cost only and did not include the lost returns from investment. The objective of this study was to estimate the social cost of emigration of doctors and nurses from the African Region to the developed countries. The cost information used in this study was obtained from one nonprofit primary and secondary school and one public university in Kenya. The cost estimates represent unsubsidized cost. The loss incurred by African countries through emigration is obtained by compounding the cost of educating a medical doctor and a nurse over the period between the age of emigration and the retirement age in recipient countries. The main findings were as follows: total cost of educating a single medical doctor from primary school to university is US$65,997; for every doctor that emigrates, a country loses about US$1,854,677 returns from investment; total cost of educating one nurse from primary school to college of health sciences is US$43,180; for every nurse that emigrates, a country loses about US$1,213,463 returns from investment. Developed countries continue to deprive African countries of billions of dollars worth of invaluable investments embodied in their human resources. If the current trend of poaching of scarce human resources for health (and other professionals) from African countries is not curtailed, the chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goals would remain dismal. Such continued plunder of investments embodied in human resources contributes to further underdevelopment of Africa and to keeping majority of her people in the vicious circle of poverty. Therefore, both developed and developing countries need to urgently develop and implement strategies for addressing this issue.

© Copyright 2006 - African Forum for Health Sciences

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