The Driving Forces behind Health Worker Migration
Presenter: Martine Rutten, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)
The causes and effects of international health worker migration have been little researched, causing a polarisation in the debate between its critics and its proponents. The available evidence suggests that particularly English-speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and countries in the Caribbean with relatively few health workers and a high disease burden suffer most from the health worker brain drain. However, the exodus of health workers is not a main cause of the health status crisis, but rather a symptom of deeper underlying problems, which often extend beyond the health sector towards the broader economic and political environment. The paper will investigate the factors causing health worker migration from developing source to developed destination countries by comparing health worker migration flows with overall migration flows. The results are applied at the country level using descriptive statistics to identify which countries are especially vulnerable to the health worker brain drain. Contributions of the paper to the research field are threefold. Firstly, the research improves the evidence-base on international health worker migration. Secondly, it enables policy makers to arrive at better, targeted policy to counter the negative effects of the health worker brain drain and stimulate the positive effects of services trade. Thirdly, the paper contributes to the development of methodology with which to analyse health worker migration, its causes and its consequences. The knowledge obtained in this paper can, for example, be used in follow-up impact studies at the country level.
Authors: Martine Rutten, Joseph Francois, Johannes Kepler
Room: No.3 Hall