Brain Drain remains a crucial and unresolved issue

UN Youth 2018

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras Young people at the launch of the International Year of Youth, celebrated annually on 12 August 2011.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Msİrem Aktar, student in the first year of  İstanbul University İstanbul Faculty of Medicine in İstanbul,Turkey. . She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The loss of qualified human source is not a new concept which is known as ‘Brain Drain’but medical brain drain has started  to emerge as a concern at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Medical Conference in 1965.To explain,medical brain drain is the migration of healthcare workers in search of better standard of living and life quality, in different places worldwide.

In Europe,this flow is inclined to occur from less developed Eastern countries to developed Western countries.According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the number of medical doctors trained in foreign countries in some Western European countries has rapidly increased between 1970 and 2005.For example,this number among all healthcare workers raised from %5 to %16,1 in Sweden and from %1 to % 6 in France and Hollande.

There are ‘push’and ‘pull’ factors behind the scenes.In many Eastern countries,the governments are still trying to cope with political instability,wars,security issues,terror in today’s world. Working under tough conditions and gaining relatively low salaries are also not appealing.The research  opportunities remain limited  due to lack of funding, poor facilities.Workload is extremely high for a qualified physician since the human resource is inadequate.

The chance of building a flexible career plan is almost impossible. Considering all these elements,Western European countries with better living conditions,less workload,higher salaries are more demanded by medical students for specializing.As a result,  the healthcare delivery in Eastern Europe is doomed to worsen depending on the scale of brain drain.The economic loss occurs due  loosing taxes of the workers and the expenses for the medical education.

Ethical debates on recruitment of foreigners,recruitment expenses,dissatisfaction among the local workers are negative consequences for the country of immigration.At the same time, the migration helps the elimination of the shortage in qualified human resource and provides the needed healthcare workers with less costs in Western Europe but these results that look like profit do not change the fact that brain drain is a serious issue to be solved with more negative results than positive ones for both sides.

Rather than taking small steps, the governments should openly interact with physicians and medical students to look for a more decisive step in right direction as well as addressing the structural, political, and economic problems that lead to the brain drain. Increasing post-graduation seats in the health sector, offering research funding,decreasing the workload by training more of healthcare workers,improving working and living conditions,allowing health professionals in the public sector to do private practice should be taken into consideration. Implementing a comprehensive reverse brain drain programme offering to provide the demands of workers would also make a major change to gain physicians back.

The main goal must be creating an environment for professional growth with adequate funding, facilities and a vibrant intellectual community both for reducing the brain drain and the development of the country.

References

1. http://www.todaie.edu.tr/resimler/ekler/7bafc9d7c99d609_ek.pdf?dergi=Amme%20Idaresi%20Dergisi

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345397/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122434/

About the author

My name is İrem Aktar.I study in the first year of  İstanbul University İstanbul Faculty of Medicine in İstanbul,Turkey. I am an active member in EMSA İstanbul. I took part in Spring Assembly in Macedonia and National Spring Assembly in 2018.My article about the development of HIV vaccines was selected to be published in EUROMEDS.I am going to participate TNT 2018. I was awarded to make the third best oral presentation with my study called ‘Association of HLA-B Alleles and HIV Infection’in BAUIMSC’18. I attended multiple MUN conferences as well as two LIONS youth camps.

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