Medical graduates emigrating for better jobs
Karachi, June 11(The News): Though the State spends Rs 3.5-4 million on a medical graduate, 3,000-4,000 of
them leave Pakistan every year, Dr. Shershah Syed, former general secretary,
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and a leading gynecologist said.
"Pakistan badly needs doctors, but since jobs are not available on the
basis of merit, fresh graduates opt for greener pastures such as the United
States, Canada and Australia. In fact, 70 per cent male graduates and 50 per
cent female graduates leave the country every year," he added.
drain or human capital flight is an emigration of trained and talented
individuals to other nations due to varied reasons; it could be the conflicts,
lack of opportunities, health hazards where they are living, discrimination and
many other reasons. Investment in higher education is lost when a trained
individual leaves and does not return. Also, whatever social capital the
individual has been a part of, is reduced by his or her departure.
was the spokesman for the Royal Society of London who coined the term "brain
drain" describing the outflow of scientists and technologists to Canada and the
United States in the early 1950s". Its opposite is "brain gain" in the areas to
which the talent migrates.
"Brain drain from Pakistan can be contained
if medical graduates are offered better financial options, better work
environment and upgraded hospitals. It is also taking place due to lack of
infrastructure in rural areas where there is dearth of doctors," Dr. Saeed
Qureshi, professor of surgery at Civil Hospital, Karachi said. "A fresh
graduate after completing his house job is paid Rs 13,000 in a government
hospital and Rs 10,000-12,000 in a private hospital that makes it impossible for
him to make his ends meet. As a result, he or she prefers to migrate," he said.
"Dow Medical College produces some 300 graduates every year but 80 per
cent female graduates migrate to developed countries every year," he disclosed.
Fresh medical graduates are so eager to migrate that they are even prone to the
maneuvering of fraudulent companies that offer them lucrative jobs abroad. This
was vividly demonstrated when advertisements started appearing in a leading
English daily that offered lucrative jobs to medical graduates in The
Netherlands. A letter was then sent by the PMA Secretary General, Dr. Habibur
Rehman Soomro to the ambassador of The Netherlands to confirm the authenticity
of these advertisements, in the wake of queries he was getting from many
interested doctors. Not surprisingly, the ambassador showed his complete
ignorance about the company that was recruiting Pakistani doctors for The
Netherlands and later wrote back to PMA Secretary General, Dr. Habibur Rehman
about the scheme being a sham.
According to "The Metrics of the
Physician Brain Drain," a study conducted by Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D, from the
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services,
Washington D.C, "international medical graduates constitute between 23 and 28
percent of physicians in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and
Australia; and lower-income countries supply between 40 and 75 percent of these
international medical graduates. India, the Philippines, and Pakistan are the
leading sources of international medical graduates."
The study further
said: "The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have been
the beneficiaries of large-scale immigration of physicians over the past
century. Medical-training positions in these developed nations, as well as the
opportunities for employment, have proved a strong draw for physicians from many
nations. This medical migration, often called the 'brain drain' has attracted
frequent commentary and has been the subject of deliberations by the Institute
of Medicine and the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) in the United
States, both of which have expressed concern about heavy reliance on doctors