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International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Sciences (IJPHCS)
Open Access e-journal ISSN : 2289-7577


Mohammad Najib, Abdullah S., Narresh S., Muhamad Hanafiah Juni


Background: One of biggest challenge for health human resource is the brain-drain issue. Regardless of the push and pull factors, migration of health care workers from developing countries to developed ones, have done more harm than good on the health care deliveries in the various countries. The aim of this paper is to review and explore the factors, impacts and strategies to improve the brain-drain phenomenon among healthcare workers.

Materials and Methods: A general review was conducted with the focus on the healthcare workers issues related to the brain-drain from various countries, guided by one research question; What are the brain-drain factors among the healthcare workers, its impacts and the strategies to improve the phenomenon? Relevant studies were identified. The literature searching was done based on the formulated research question from the electronic databases, PubMed, ScienceDirect and Google Scholar.

Result: 14 articles were reviewed from high-, middle- and low-income countries. Focusing on the healthcare sectors, most low- to middle-income countries demonstrated the internal brain-drain issues as income-generating potential was commonly observed within the private service. However, external brain-drain was more common in high-income countries. The factors that causes brain-drain include financial rewards, continuing rewards, career development, continuing education, hospital infrastructure, resource availability, hospital management, political issues, family issues, training, education and development.

Conclusion: The internal and external brain-drain phenomenon among healthcare workers were contributed by the pulling and pushing factors either from the donor countries or the receiving countries. The most common factors including income-generated potential, inadequate wages despite of poor working condition, no clear professional development and intellectual stimulation, and aggravated by the political and economic instability. A comprehensive approach needed by the policy maker and political actors to tackle these factors to improve the equity at all levels of healthcare service deliveries.

Keywords:  brain-drain phenomenon, brain-drain factors, brain-drain impacts, brain-drain strategies, brain-drain in healthcare.

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