Benjamin Rosenbaum

Comments on "Give Me Your Tired..."

There is one problem for the countries of origin that is particularly noticeable in Europe (no idea if it's the same in the US). It's less of a "brain" drain, and more of skills drain. Right across the developing world, medical staff are being lured away by developed countries who haven't trained enough of their own staff. I heard of one case recently where an African hospital was left with only a single doctor after all of the other medically trained staff had left to work abroad. I understand from the perspective of the individual why they would want to go abroad for better salaries and conditions, but I think developed countries need to be responsible about draining key skills from developing (or not developing) countries.

Posted by Patrick Samphire at March 8, 2005 08:18 AM

This is a problem, and actually precisely that example -- doctors -- was what I was thinking of when I wrote "except for the problem of skills drain". The Economist recently pointed out that this is one way in which the educational systems of the Third World massively subsidize healthcare in the First World.

I'm not sure what the solution is. One idea: perhaps the First World should own up to what they're doing here. They could set aside money to explicitly train doctors, improve medical teaching, etc., in the Third World, and subsidize students with the deal being that they have to agree to remain and work in their country of origin for X years before they can immigrate! (Kind of the way you can get a college education paid for in the USA by agreeing to join the army).

Posted by Benjamin Rosenbaum at March 8, 2005 10:15 AM

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