African female physicians and nurses in the global care chain: qualitative explorations from five destination countries
PublisherPublic Library Science//https://www.plos.org/
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Migration of health professionals is an important policy issue for both source and destination countries around the world. The majority of migrant care workers in industrialized countries today are women. However, the dimension of mobility of highly skilled females from countries of the global south has been almost entirely neglected for many years. This paper explores the experiences of high-skilled female African migrant health-workers (MHW) utilising the framework of Global Care Chain (GCC) research. In the frame of the EU-project HURAPRIM (Human Resources for Primary Health Care in Africa), the research team conducted 88 semi-structured interviews with female and male African MHWs in five countries (Botswana, South Africa, Belgium, Austria, UK) from July 2011 until April 2012. For this paper we analysed the 34 interviews with female physicians and nurses using the qualitative framework analysis approach and the software atlas.ti. In terms of the effect of the migration on their career, almost all of the respondents experienced short-term, long-term or permanent inability to work as health-care professionals; few however also reported a positive career development post-migration. Discrimination based on a foreign nationality, race or gender was reported by many of our respondents, physicians and nurses alike, whether they worked in an African or a European country. Our study shows that in addition to the phenomenon of deskilling often reported in GCC research, many female MHW are unable to work according to their qualifications due to the fact that their diplomas are not recognized in the country of destination. Policy strategies are needed regarding integration of migrants in the labour market and working against discrimination based on race and gender.