Medical Paraprofessionals Helping to Replace "Brain Drain" of African Doctors, New York Times Reports
November 23, 2004
The New York Times on Tuesday examined how health care paraprofessionals, or individuals trained to assist physicians, are performing medical duties -- such as emergency obstetrical and HIV/AIDS care -- in some African countries to help alleviate the "brain drain" resulting from doctors moving to "rich Western nations and more prosperous African countries." Ethiopia, Mozambique and Malawi, all of which have "extreme doctor shortages," are "virtually doubling" the number of paraprofessionals who are going through training, according to the Times. While some have raised concerns that the paraprofessionals may be inadequately trained for such duties, international health experts say that the "trend must accelerate if Africa has any hope of grappling with its catastrophic epidemics of disease," the Times reports. Paraprofessionals are less expensive to train, more willing to work in rural areas and less likely to leave the country "for greener pastures" than medical doctors, according to the Times. The Joint Learning Initiative, a network of scholars and experts, estimates that the continent, which has 600,000 nurses and doctors, needs one million more physicians, according to the Times.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.