Introduction: The West African health sector is characterized by a human resource base lacking in numbers and specialized skills. Among the contributory factors to this lack of human resource for health workforce include but not limited to the migration of health professionals. Methods: This cross-sectional survey targeted 118 young professionals who have participated in the Young Professional Internship Program (YPIP) of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), from (2005-2013). It inquired about their socio-demographic characteristics associated with migration and reasons for going to their preferred or most likely destinations through online survey. Results: Of the 118 young professionals, 100 responded to the online survey, of which (28%) have migrated and (72%) did not migrate. Migration was more common among males and those (age≤31 years old), single with high dependency level and no previous work experience. Having a medical profession and being posted to urban or semi-urban area was also associated with their emigration. Their most important reasons for going to preferred or most likely destinations were to have fair level of workload, job promotion and limited occupational risks. Conclusion: This finding suggests that the migration of health professionals is situation dependent, mediated by basic socio-demographic variables and work related conditions. These issues have implications for curbing the brain drain potential of health professionals in the West African health sector.
Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24