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International medical migration: A critical conceptual review of the global movements of doctors and nurses
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Welfare and Lifecourse)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0664-1170
2014 (English)In: Health, ISSN 1363-4593, E-ISSN 1461-7196, Vol. 18, no 6, 580-596 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper critically appraises the discourse around international medical migration at the turn of the 21st century. A critical narrative review of a range of English-language sources, including grey literature, books and research reports, traces the development and spread of specific causative models. The attribution of causative relations between the movement of skilled medical workers, the provision of health care and population health outcomes illustrates how the global reach of biomedicine has to be understood in the context of local conditions. The need to understand migration as an aspect of uneven global development, rather than a delimited issue of manpower services management, is illustrated with reference to debates about ‘brain drain’ of Africa’s health-care professionals, task-shifting and the crisis in health-care human resources. The widespread presumed cause of shortages of skilled health-care staff in sub-Saharan Africa was overdetermined by a compelling narrative of rich countries stealing poor countries’ trained health-care professionals. This narrative promotes medical professional interests and ignores historical patterns of underinvestment in health-care systems and structures. Sociological theories of medicalization suggest that the international marketization of medical recruitment is a key site where the uneven global development of capital is at work. A radical reconfiguration of medical staffing along the lines of ‘task-shifting’ in rich and poor countries’ health-care systems alike offers one means of thinking about global equity in access to quality care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2014. Vol. 18, no 6, 580-596 p.
Keyword [en]
critical review, global equity, health-care professionals, migration
National Category
Sociology Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-236218DOI: 10.1177/1363459314524803ISI: 000344059400003PubMedID: 24677336OAI: diva2:763547
Welfare and Life-course
Available from: 2014-11-15 Created: 2014-11-15 Last updated: 2014-12-11Bibliographically approved

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