Diaspora engagement of African migrant health workers - examples from five destination countries
PublisherTaylor and Francis; http://taylorandfrancis.com/
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Background: Migrant health workers fill care gaps in their destination countries, but they also actively engage in improving living conditions for people of their countries of origin through expatriate professional networks. This paper aims to explore the professional links that migrant health workers from sub-Saharan African countries living in five African and European destinations (Botswana, South Africa, Belgium, Austria, and the United Kingdom) have to their countries of origin. Design: Qualitative interviews were conducted with migrant doctors, nurses, and midwives from sub-Saharan Africa (N 66). A qualitative content analysis of the material was performed using the software ATLAS.ti. Results: Almost all migrant health workers have professional ties with their countries of origin supporting health, education, and social structures. They work with non-governmental organizations, universities, or hospitals and travel back and forth between their destination country and country of origin. For a few respondents, professional engagement or even maintaining private contacts in their country of origin is difficult due to the political situation at home. Conclusions: The results show that African migrant health workers are actively engaged in improving living conditions not only for their family members but also for the population in general in their countries of origin. Our respondents are mediators and active networkers in a globalized and transnationally connected world. The research suggests that the governments of these countries of origin could strategically use their migrant health workforce for improving education and population health in sub-Saharan Africa. Destination countries should be reminded of their need to comply with the WHO Global Code of Practice for the international recruitment of health professionals.