Emigration of Health Professionals: An Impediment for Achieving Health Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5 in the Developing Countries (Published)
Aside the apathy of health professionals towards the rural health delivery due to lack of basic infrastructure and poor working condition, emigration of health professionals from the developing countries to developed and rich countries had been a major impediment for achieving the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in its 15 years of implementation. The designers of the programme had failed to take into cognizance emigration of health providers (the implementing tools of health MDGs) and its effects on achieving the targeted goals in the developing and poor countries. Literature on emigration of health professionals before and during the implementations of health MDGs revealed that health professionals were moving out in large numbers to other destinations and consequently, the developing countries were left with very small fragment of supply of health providers as against their increasing population. The paper therefore examined the effects of emigration of health professionals on the indicators of MDGs 4 and 5, as well as the spatio-temporal trends of their destinations. Push-Pull and Good Governance Models provided the frameworks. Primary data were used to analyze the spatio-temporal trends, factors and consequences of emigration of health professionals in Nigeria between 1896 and 2010 in three selected health institutions in Southwestern Nigeria, while secondary data were sourced from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2008 and 2013 reports. These were used to explain the inadequacy of health providers in the country vis-à-vis their impacts on the indicators of MDGs 4 and 5 in the Six Geo-political Zones of Nigeria. In addition, the spatio-temporal trajectories of emigrated health professionals were mapped and analyzed to show the benefited countries. The findings showed that emigration of health professionals has been on the increase over time. This has contributed majorly to the inability of achieving the targeted MDGs 4 and 5 in some parts of the country, particularly in the rural areas and crisis prone geo-political zones in Nigeria. The benefiting destinations were majorly the United Kingdom followed by the United States of America, Canada, Saudi Arabia and UAE, where the need of health professionals is seemed to be superfluous. The study concludes that the rate of emigration of health professionals is alarming due to push factors in the country and which if not checked, could hamper the nascent achievements of MDGs 4 & 5 and healthcare delivery in Nigeria.