Web edition: February 26, 2008
The latest issue of Lancet crossed my desk today, and emblazoned across its cover was this dispiriting statement:
The stats were pulled from an essay on the brain drain of health-care workers from poor regions of the world to wealthy places like the
Some 600 doctors—roughly half of those in
Robinson and Clark acknowledge that “health workers have a clear human right to emigrate in search of a better life.” However, they add, the sick they leave behind also have a right to health care. And therein lies the rub: how to guarantee care in the wake of a tidal wave of emigrating physicians.
The trick will be to create incentives that don’t anchor health-care workers to hopeless environments, but instead encourage people to stay because it makes sense for them—for whatever reason.Robinson and Clark concede they’re still looking for those incentives and welcome suggestions. Got a good idea? Pop it along to Clark (Peggy.email@example.com), who works out of the Aspen Institute, some 2 blocks away from our office here at Science News.
Robinson, M. and P. Clark. 2008. Forging Solutions to Health Worker Migration. Lancet 371(Feb. 23):691