International Migration of Health Professionals: Towards a Multidimensional Framework for Analysis and Policy Response
This chapter provides some clarity on the key issues surrounding the international migration of health professionals as one of the critical factors that is provoking the global health workforce crisis. It aims to show that different analytical frameworks for explaining the movement of people across borders give rise to different policy responses which are more or less useful and appropriate to address the phenomenon of health worker migration. Three leading analytic frameworks will be analysed: the neoclassical approach, the historical-structural approach and migration systems theory. The proposed models function at different levels of analysis. Even though the assumptions, hypotheses and arguments resulting from each theory are not intrinsically clashing, they have different implications for policymaking. Depending on which theory is used, and under what conditions, different policies are put forward to cope with the challenges generated by the migration of health professionals. It is argued that traditional theories are too narrowly focused; a full understanding of contemporary migratory flows will not be comprehensive if only focused on one discipline; hence a multidimensional approach based on migration systems theory but with the individual at the centre of the analysis is recommended as it engages with different levels, assumptions and perspectives.
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