Developing evidence-based ethical policies on the migration of health workers : conceptual and practical challenges

Buchan, James and Stilwell, Barbara and Diallo, Khassoum and Zurn, Pascal and Dal Poz, Mario R and Adams, Orvill (2003) Developing evidence-based ethical policies on the migration of health workers : conceptual and practical challenges. Human Resources for Health, 1 (8). pp. 1478-4491. ISSN 1478-4491


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It is estimated that in 2000 almost 175 million people, or 2.9% of the world's population, were living outside their country of birth, compared to 100 million, or 1.8% of the total population, in 1995. As the global labour market strengthens, it is increasingly highly skilled professionals who are migrating. Medical practitioners and nurses represent a small proportion of highly skilled workers who migrate, but the loss of health human resources for developing countries can mean that the capacity of the health system to deliver health care equitably is compromised. However, data to support claims on both the extent and the impact of migration in developing countries is patchy and often anecdotal, based on limited databases with highly inconsistent categories of education and skills. The aim of this paper is to examine some key issues related to the international migration of health workers in order to better understand its impact and to find entry points to developing policy options with which migration can be managed. The paper is divided into six sections. In the first, the different types of migration are reviewed. Some global trends are depicted in the second section. Scarcity of data on health worker migration is one major challenge and this is addressed in section three, which reviews and discusses different data sources. The consequences of health worker migration and the financial flows associated with it are presented in section four and five, respectively. To illustrate the main issues addressed in the previous sections, a case study based mainly on the United Kingdom is presented in section six. This section includes a discussion on policies and ends by addressing the policy options from a broader perspective.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: K. Diallo and P. Zurn performed the statistical analyses. All authors participated in interpreting the results, and read and approved the final manuscript.
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Nursing
Date Deposited: 15 May 2007 11:08
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:37


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