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letter to the Editors - Health worker migration and universal health care in Sub-Saharan Africa

I Sieleunou


There is a more and more emerging consensus claiming universal access to health care in order to achieve the desired Millennium Development Goals related to health in Africa. Unfortunately, the debate of the universal coverage has focussed so far mainly on financial affordability, while it is also a human resource matter. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing severe shortages of skilled health care workers. There are several causes, the importance of which varies by country, but one of the most significant factors is brain drain. In those countries, scarcity of doctors increases the distance between a doctor and patients, and bridging that increased distance implies costs, both time and money. Adequate number of qualified health personnel is then vital to increase coverage and improve the quality of care. In as much as access to health services is also determined by access to qualified health workers, any reflection on the universal health coverage has to also consider the inequities in qualified health personnel distribution throughout the world.

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eISSN: 1937-8688