Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ethiopia's Brain Drain: Rich robbing the poor

Ethiopia is unique in Africa having successfully resisted colonial invaders, but a new version of Scramble for Africa has been slowly devastating the nation. If you've never quite grasped the magnitude of the problem, then get this. Apparently, there are more Ethiopian doctors living in city of Chicago than those staying in Ethiopia. Western countries have been actively draining Africa's brain trust at the worst possible time, with no reimbursement for years spent training these professionals. According to the head of the World Bank's Global HIV/AIDS Program, Ethiopia has only 1 medical doctor per 100,000 people. A recent report by the World Health Organization in its 2006 World Health Report gives a figure of 1936 physicians (for 2003), which comes to about 2.6 per 100,000. Many educated professionals ranging from medical staff, university faculty and research academics are leaving Ethiopia for better economic opportunities in the West. This is a Millennium challenge the government needs to highly prioritize. It's futile to invest in more universities and provide free education, if the end result is transfer of graduates to wealthier nations.

..."There are more nurses from Malawi in Manchester than in Malawi, and more Ethiopian doctors in Chicago than Ethiopia," according to European Parliament member Gladys Kinnock, quoted in an IPS agency report.

...A 2005 report by Save the Children and Medact estimated that Britain had saved £65m in training costs for doctors and £38m for nurses it had taken from Ghana alone since 1999.

Related articles:
Rate of Ethiopia Brain-Drain Alarming - Study (Daily Monitor) September 2, 2007
Report shows brain drain cost country dearly (Africa Monitor) April 29, 2007
The Global Effects of the Brain Drain on Health Care Systems (Georgetown Journal of Health Sciences) March 15, 2006
Reversing the Brain Drain In Ethiopia (David H. Shinn) November 23, 2002