Tuesday , December 1 2020

The Economist: Doctor emigration is a hemorrhage that doubles the Arab “pain”

Under the heading “Many Arab countries are suffering from a doctor shortage” .. The British “Economist” magazine describes the problem of a shortage of doctors and medical teams, which have become successful in the Arab world, even though thousands of medical schools graduate every year.

The magazine said that the Middle East, like most of the northern hemisphere, is deteriorating its health with the high incidence of the Coronavirus, in Lebanon for example, which is a destination for wealthy patients because doctors are trained at the best European and American universities, hospitals have become empty of doctors. This is what They prefer to emigrate for money.

The magazine added that in many Arab countries, the Coronavirus is spreading, which has prompted many governments to tighten closures, as Tunisia imposes a curfew, and stops travel between regions, and other countries are studying similar measures, but the closures are providing little. relief for doctors who had been forced to fight. Virus.

Although there is no global standard for a sound health care system, the World Health Organization proposes a minimum of 45 skilled people (doctors and nurses) for every 10,000 people, and at least nine Arab countries are included in this standard.

And in some cases, according to the magazine, the shortcomings were stark. In Egypt, for example, there were fewer than five doctors for every 10,000 people in 2018, down from more than 11 doctors in 2014, and the number of doctors in government hospitals decreased by a third during that time. Point.

The magazine explains that this is not due to a lack of talent, because every year many doctors graduate, in Egypt, where about 7,000 of them graduate every year, but once they graduate, many doctors want to leave, and money is the most obvious reason.

The magazine explained the problem, saying that new doctors in Egypt receive a salary of between 2000 and 2500 pounds (128-160 dollars) per month, which is not enough for a poor family that spends around 4000 pounds per month, a figure that has risen since the value of the pound floated. in 2016.

In Tunisia, a medical specialist makes about $ 15,000 a year, the same amount a person earns a month from exercising in the wealthy Gulf nation.

The magazine pointed out that working conditions could be another reason for doctors to emigrate, as many government hospitals in Arab countries experience overcrowding and a lack of equipment. Iraq has only 13 beds for every 10,000 people, compared with 22 in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and 28 in Turkey, whose systems are broken. Iraqi health care is due to decades of war and sanctions, and successive governments have invested little to rebuild it.

According to the magazine, Egypt’s constitution, approved in 2014, obliges the country to spend 3% of annual GDP on health care, but this issue is ignored, and spending in 2018 was only 1.4% of GDP.

According to the British Journal, the Coronavirus has killed around 200 medical workers in Egypt, and underfunded hospitals are unable to keep up with rapid population growth, and in the three years after constitutional approval, the number of hospital beds per 10,000 people decreased by 8%. , From 15.6 to 14.3.

The magazine concluded its report by monitoring the percentage of doctors who left their homeland over the past several years, saying: “About 400 doctors, or nearly 3% of the total workforce, left Lebanon last year, and the National Council of Medical Syndicates in Tunisia said that 40 % of members practice the profession. Outside their homeland, and in Egypt the figure is close to 50%. Mass immigration has given the wealthy countries ample doctors, but left many countries in the Arab world suffering from severe shortages.

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