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Rethinking migration of doctors



Contrary to popular belief, the migration of doctors from the Middle East and the Maghreb region to Europe does not only benefit the host countries. The source countries also benefit from these departures. Strengthening north-south relations in the fields of education and medical research would lead to a win-win situation.



Ahmed Driouchi, Professor of Economics at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and author of this FEMISE research report. (Photo Femise)
Ahmed Driouchi, Professor of Economics at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and author of this FEMISE research report. (Photo Femise)
In the same context and following the 2006 report of the World Health Organisation, FEMISE has just published a report on the emigration of doctors from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. Entitled “What Can Be Learnt from the New Economics of Emigration of Medical Doctors to the European Union: The Cases of East and Central European, Middle Eastern and North African Economies?” the paper takes a new approach to north-south relations, laying the foundation for co-operation based on the social economy and social policy (the paper can be downloaded from FEMISE website form this link).
 
On the one hand an ageing Europe short of doctors, especially in rural areas, and on the other hand doctors trained in the Middle East and in the Maghreb region who aspire to a better life. The developed countries are not alone in benefiting from the medical brain drain. This exchange can produce a leverage effect on the educational systems of the source countries.


A new era is starting, relations between the EU and the MEAN countries are being reshaped with stronger co-operation

The new economics of migration are developing an approach in which the departure of skilled workers is not systematically causing a brain drain. On the one hand this means that education is appreciated elsewhere and that once settled in Europe doctors have the opportunity to be associated to a hospital or medical school in a southern country, thus creating circular mobility. In parallel, Western physicians may wish to visit a southern country for a few months and then return to Europe. These movements thus contribute to improving research. This question is insufficiently developed in the bilateral agreements with Europe,” says Ahmed Driouchi, Professor of Economics at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and author of this FEMISE research report.
 
The Mediterranean is not a hermetically sealed border, particularly in the field of medicine. The World Trade Organisation promotes international trade in services, including in the health sector. “A new era is starting, relations between the EU and the MEAN countries are being reshaped with stronger co-operation between countries and between hospitals,” Ahmed Driouchi adds. 

Collaboration can be achieved through publications. The European countries also benefit from the export of their technologies and their know-how and co-operation with foreign institutions. Trade flows will be created. “The countries of origin and destination countries have a deficit in doctors, but the market is open. If they want to convince doctors to practise in their country of origin, the southern countries will increase salaries and benefits whatever the cost and will establish a policy of genuine attractiveness. This also requires improving general conditions, in other words true democracy and improved living conditions,” says Professor Ahmed Driouchi. 

Nathalie Bureau du Colombier


Tuesday, October 16th 2012



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