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Doctors’ brain drain saps $2b from Africa – report

A new report on good governance released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has revealed that Africa loses about $2 billion a year due to doctors and health practitioners leaving the continent.Only three countries in Africa, namely Libya, Mauritius and Tunisia, have at least one doctor per thousand people, says the document entitled ‘Ibrahim Forum Report 2018: The Public Service in Africa’ seen by APA on Sunday.

The report presented on Sunday in the Rwandan capital Kigali on the sidelines of the ‘Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend’, indicates that in sub-Saharan Africa the average health expenditure in the private sector is 57.4 percent, more than double at the level of Europe and Central Asia.

According to more recent data, Burundi remains the African country having difficulty keeping its brilliant professionals, while Algeria, Mauritania, Chad and Guinea Conakry complete the top five nations that are victims of the brain drain.

A study by Canadian scientists found that South Africa and Zimbabwe suffer the worst economic losses due to doctors emigrating, while Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States benefit the most from recruiting doctors trained abroad.

“This trend and this crisis are particularly noticeable in the African medical sector, says the report which also assesses the current state of public services in Africa and its main challenges, namely the attractiveness of employment and services provided”, part on the report says.

Experts say the migration, or brain drain of trained health workers from poorer countries to richer ones exacerbates the problem of already weak health systems in low-income nations battling epidemics of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

The World Health Organization adopted a code of practice in 2017 on international recruitment of health personnel that highlighted the problem of a doctors’ brain drain and called on wealthy nations to offer financial help to poorer ones affected.

The code is seen as particularly important for sub-Saharan Africa, which suffers from a critical shortage of doctors against the backdrop of a high prevalence of diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria.

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