Brain drain of doctors from southern Africa: brain gain for Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • ?Brain drain? is the depletion or loss of intellectual and technical personnel. The United Nations defines it as a one-way movement of highly skilled people from developing to developed countries that only benefits the industrialised (host) world. Today, brain drain is a major problem facing less developed countries, while Australia and other developed countries are the beneficiaries. Brain drain is reported to have direct negative impact on the population?s health status in the donor country, with associated consequences for the productivity and welfare of the population. This paper reports on a qualitative study to understand the key factors behind brain drain from the perspective of the migrating doctor, and to consider possible solutions. Interviews were conducted with doctors who have migrated to Australia from southern Africa to explore reasons for brain drain. Specifically, the study tests the supposition that push factors play a much greater role than pull factors, and identifies which push factors are most important. Strategies to prevent brain drain from this depleted labour region are considered.

publication date

  • 2006