Uganda’s Plan To Send HCWs Abroad Could Benefit Workers, Country If ‘Executed Properly’

Project Syndicate: Reversing Africa’s Medical Brain Drain
Serufusa Sekidde, a consultant with Oxford Policy Management and a 2015 Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow

“There is understandable consternation over Uganda’s plan to send almost 300 health workers to Trinidad and Tobago. … But the truth is that Uganda may have inadvertently stumbled upon an innovative policy. If the plan is executed properly, it could benefit both the health care sector and the country, by raising additional funds, strengthening medical workers’ skills and motivation, and creating a model for engaging with the diaspora. … Of course, this type of mass recruitment could have a major adverse impact on developing countries’ health care systems. But it also should be recognized that it is not sensible to chain health care workers to a failing system. There has to be a way to encourage doctors to contribute to their country’s health care system, while offering them an opportunity to achieve their personal and professional goals. … The ultimate solution is not to discourage professionals from working abroad; it is to ensure better training and more amenable working conditions…” (5/12).