Skills Drain of Health Professionals from the Developing World: A Framework for Policy Formulation




Mensah K, Mackintosh M, Henry L






This paper should be read in association with its companion paper on migration and human rights (Bueno de Mesquita and Gordon 2005). Our aims are conceptual and agenda-setting. In essence, we argue that current policy responses to migration of health professionals from low income developing countries underestimate the pressures and misidentify the reasons for rising migration, overestimate the impact of recruitment policies on migration flows while ignoring unintended side effects, and mis specify the ethical dilemmas involved. The paper employs as its central case study the migration of health professionals from Ghana, the home country of the lead author, to the UK. This case is typical neither of migration flows nor impact, and is not presented as such. Rather, Ghana-UK migration provides a good example of many of the worst problems and contradictions in the current situation and policy debate. We therefore employ it as a test case, a source of insight, and a ‘place to stand’ in constructing arguments that can be tested subsequently on a wider field.


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