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Reversing the Medical Brain Drain

With physicians already scarce worldwide, demand for foreign-born doctors in the US and the UK is stretching developing and middle-income countries’ medical resources to the breaking point. Reversing this trend requires restructuring medical training to direct doctors to where they are most needed.

GRENADA – With physicians already scarce worldwide, demand for foreign-born doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom is stretching developing and middle-income countries’ medical resources to the breaking point. In the US, for example, the shortfall of physicians could grow to nearly 95,000 by 2025, equivalent to 43% of all doctors working today.

When doctors are in short supply, the US and UK turn to countries like the Philippines to close the gap. But this leaves the Philippines with its own significant shortage of medical professionals.

The situation across Africa is no better. In Kenya, more than 50% of all doctors are now practicing overseas, leaving just 20 physicians per 100,000 in the population. By contrast, the United Kingdom has 270 doctors per 100,000 people.

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