The Haemorrhage of Health Professionals from South Africa: Medical Opinions

“The health sector has been especially hard hit by the brain drain from South Africa. Unless the push factors are successfully
addressed, intense interest in emigration will continue to translate into departure for as long as demand exists abroad (and
there is little sign of this letting up.) Health professional decision-making
about leaving, staying or returning is poorly-understood and primarily anecdotal. To understand how push and pull factors interact in decision- making (and the mediating role of variables such as profession, race, class, age, gender income and experience), the opinions of health professionals themselves need to be sought. This paper reports the results of a survey of health professionals in South Africa conducted in 2005-6 by SAMP. Since there is no single reliable database for all practicing health professionals, SAMP used the 29,000 strong database of MEDpages. All those on the list were invited by email to complete an online survey. About 5% of the professionals went to the website and completed the questionnaire; some requested
hard copies or electronic copies of the questionnaire which they completed and returned. Although the sample is biased towards professionals who have internet access and those who were willing to complete an online questionnaire, the sample represents a good cross-section (though not necessarily statistically representative sample) of South African health professionals and offers insights into their attitudes and opinions about emigration and other topics. In partnership with the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA), SAMP also distributed
the survey manually to a sample of nurses and received an additional 178 responses.”