20 / 03 / 2019

Brain drain for Africa cause for concern

Date: 23 February 2019

By: AHO Press Office

Africa’s health sector brain drain continues to be of concern, with the continent carrying roughly a quarter of the burden of the world’s diseases but just above one percent of the world health workforce, experts said today.

The College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (Cosecsa) says sub-Saharan Africa has just 0.5 surgeons per 100 000 population.

But Cosecsa has shown that investing in education has given African doctors an incentive to remain home – it is the second largest surgical training institute in sub-Saharan Africa and offers in-service training and an e-learning platform for surgical trainees.

One of the programmes is geared toward getting more women surgeons into operating theatres. It also boasts 94 accredited hospitals with 196 accredited trainers and 350 trainees enrolled.

Recent research showed that 93 percent of the surgeon graduates from the Cosecsa programme are retained in surgery in the sub-Saharan region, counteracting the brain drain.

“Our primary objective is to advance education, training, standards, research and practice in surgical care in this region in order to improve access to surgical care for the neglected surgical patient,” Cosecsa’s president in Kenya professor Pankaj Jani said.

Jani said Africa had approximately 25 percent of the burden of the world’s diseases but only 1.3 percent of the world’s health workforce, with most surgeons based in urban areas.