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No Replacement In Developing Countries For Health Care Workers Lost To Migration

In the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, Smisha Agarwal, co-founder and India country director of Global Health Bridge, examines the global migration of health workers, highlighting a book titled “Insourced,” in which Kate Tulenko, senior director for health systems innovation at IntraHealth International, “argues that the U.S. drains health care workers from poor countries.” Agarwal writes, “A quarter of physicians in the U.S. are imported mostly from developing countries; a quarter of which come from India, where the deficit of health care workers is amongst the largest in the world.” She continues, “Billions of dollars of health care aid from the U.S. may help with improving infrastructure, but there is no replacement for the lost health care providers.”

Agarwal discusses how “brain drain” affects the programs supported by foreign aid for development, and highlights “the native conditions that often motivate these workers to leave their countries in search for better opportunities,” such as low pay and poor living conditions. She says, “Tulenko proposes some strategies the U.S. should consider as it revamps its health care system,” such as “[s]trengthening training facilities for health workers, especially in rural areas.” She states, “Change needs to start somewhere” (10/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.