Health Worker Migration in South and Southern Africa: Literature Review

Author/s: IOM South Africa
Language: English
Publication Type: Technical Report(External)

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A literature review of health worker migration in South and Southern Africa. 

Section 1: Migration flows, patterns and impacts of health worker migration in Southern and South Africa: This section analyzes the available data on flows and trends in health worker migration from southern and South Africa, as well as the impact of migration flows in the context of southern Africa’s human resource crisis in healthcare. 

Section 2: Causes of health worker migration: This section lays out the causes of health professional migration under four different headings that incorporate push, pull and enabling factors.

Section 3: Retention oriented responses to health worker migration: This section suggests possible responses to some of the push, pull and enabling factors discussed in the previous section. The premise of these suggestions stems from the necessity to maximise the efficacy of responses to southern Africa’s health needs rather than simply focussing on creating barriers to the out-migration of health workers within the system. Although the availability of human resources remains key in finding sustainable solutions to health promotion in this region, retention strategies have to be creative and address the structural causes in the long term. 

Section 4: Managing migration: policies, legislative frameworks and programmes pertaining to the international migration of health workers: Within this context, and at times in response to these efforts, a variety of international, regional and national policies, programmes, guidelines, legal frameworks, agreements and resolutions have come about that contribute to limiting, regulating and rectifying the migration of health workers from developing to developed countries. Presented here is an extensive review of the relevant efforts.


Region/Country (by coverage)
International Organization for Migration