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January 26, 2005

Rich Countries Now Guilty of Doctor Poaching

Also posted at The Urban Grind

So says the International Organization for Migration, which is closely allied to the U.N.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Rich countries poach doctors and nurses that poor nations spend millions to train, taxing already underfunded, over-stretched hospitals in Africa and elsewhere, according to a report released Wednesday.

Have they taken into account the fact that these doctors are moving to the U.S. and Europe for a better life for themselves and their families. I guess not. For them, the prosperous nations are to blame, as if these doctors had no free will of their own.

Poor nations, meanwhile, spend $500 million a year training health workers, according to the report presented at a two-day meeting to discuss the impact of the migration of Africans.

Now if they're so poor, where on earth do they get $500 million from. I doubt it's from their dictators. If anything, I should think it's from developed countries who, for one thing, make available their medical journals at not cost to the developing countries.

Or how about presitigious U.S. medical schools, such as the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York?

In Nigeria, health workers blame mismanagement by a succession of corrupt military and civilian regimes for the economic woes of the past two decades that have continued to force them abroad.
Poor salaries are paid late and overworked doctors have to work with outdated equipment, leaving most dissatisfied and eager to leave, said John Adebowale, a general practitioner at the Lagos Island Hospital in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.

What kind of doctor would want to work under such conditions?

The character of Dr. Hendriks in Ayn Rand's Magnum Opus "Atlas Shrugged" put it best:

I quit when medicine was placed under state control some years ago...Do you know what it takes to perform a brian operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything -- except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.' That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards -- never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind -- yet what is it they expect to depend on when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it -- and still less safe if he is the sort who doesn't.

So what is the IOM doing about this?

Ndiaye told The Associated Press that the IOM is working to have rich countries pay for professionals from poor countries to return home and work there for an unspecified time each year.

That's it. Just keep on penalizing success and see where that takes you. I guess these people are impervious to the concept of laissez-faire capitalism. What if those doctors don't want to return to Africa?

Do they take into account that several U.S. medical schools offer their students the opportunity to work in developing countries, as a course elective? A SUNY in Brooklyn does, as does the Loyola medical school. Obviously this doesn't count for the IOM.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


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posted by Ace at 08:53 PM

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