Global Tug-of-War for Health Care Workers




Hamilton K, Yau J


Migration Policy Institute


The international mobility of health workers is nothing new. In recent years, however, migration of health workers — from highly skilled physicians to those in lesser skilled positions, from the developing world to wealthier destinations — has increased. Moreover, the countries with the most alarming outflows include those sub-Saharan African nations suffering acutely from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and dwindling numbers of health workers. Controversy surrounds the proper role of policy interventions in the global labor market of health care professionals. Emigration of health care workers weakens already failing health systems in the developing world. Yet this movement may more accurately be described as a symptom or an aggravating factor, and not the root cause of health care system failures in the developing world. [author’s description]