Brain Drain of Health Professionals from Ghana

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 Source: Tsikata, Prosper Yao

ABSTRACT: Brain Drain of Health Professionals from Ghana and the Health Delivery Crises

Ghana and many developing countries are facing high levels of out-migration of their health professionals. This situation has deprived Ghana and other third world countries of vital health personnel needed to carry out their health care programs. Attempts by the Ghana Government, in collaboration with the international community and development partners, to stem the tide have proved ineffectual.

This research employs both secondary and primary research methods to investigate the motivations for health worker migration from Ghana and its consequences for health care delivery in Ghana. The Rational Choice Theory/the self and the Dependency Theory/ the structures complimentarily undergird its analyses.

The results indicate that the exodus of health professionals from Ghana health sector emanates mainly from poor service conditions, with 66% of respondents indicating poor wages as the most compelling consideration for them to consider seeking opportunities abroad. Ghana lost US$7 million between 2000 and 2002 as a result of the departure of 51 of her physicians. Subsequently, the doctor population ratio worsened within the period from 1: 18 522 in 2000 to 1: 20: 954 nationally in 2002, as compared to developed country average of 1:300. Ghana now depends on Cuban doctors to fill vacancies where her own physicians are not ready to work.

The results further reveal misdistribution of health professionals, rising poor health indicators, and loss of human capital among others. International regulations for employing overseas health professionals, for example, the “Commonwealth Code of Practice for Recruiting Health Professionals,”and the defunct Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA)had both failed to stem the tide.

Prosper Yao Tsikata is the author of “My Name, My Race: A young African’s untold story.” He is currently working on the “Tragedies of African Democracies: why the best doesn’t mean good,” which is due to be released in the United States in the summer of 2011.

Email: pytsikata@yahoo.com

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Columnist: Tsikata, Prosper Yao