Saturday, November 10, 2007

The brain drain

The South African Daily Mail and Guardian ran a good piece about the African brain drain.

Some of the staggering numbers:

Less than 10% of doctors trained in Zambia since its independence in 1964 are still in the country: the other 90% have migrated, mainly to Europe and the United States. No less staggeringly, there are more Sierra Leonean-trained doctors in Chicago alone than in the country itself and cash-strapped Benin provides more medical professionals to France than there are in the whole of its own health system.

According to the UN, African countries are spending a whopping $4 billion a year training professionals, most of whom end up benefitting the economies of developed countries.

A professor from the University of Dar es Salaam insisted that “internal brain drain” had to be factored in as part of the problem. Low academic salaries and poor working conditions (such as huge class sizes) in Tanzania had forced many academics into other fields -- including into the country’s Cabinet.

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