Working to Advance
Health Equity in Africa

Mobility of health professionals

Mobility of health professionals


The EU is increasingly affected by the migration and mobility of health professionals (HPs), thus the development of policies to adequately address these issues is urgently needed. However, the existence of reliable and differentiated knowledge upon which these policies can be based is lacking. The Mobility of Health Professionals (MoHProf) aims to improve the knowledge base in this area in order to facilitate the development of policies on human resource planning in the EU and further afield.
The MoHProf is conducted in 25 countries around the world, including six African countries. Migration data revealed that by 2006 a staggering 40% of South African doctors had left the country to work abroad, while other researchers reported that almost 9 000 doctors and 7 000 nurses were working abroad in 2006.
HEARD is commissioned by IOM to undertake the micro phase study for SA. This research focuses closely on aspects related to health worker migration between South Africa and the UK, due to the UK being a common destination country for South Africans and sub-Saharan Africans more generally.


Three broad areas for research are undertaken:
• Medical and nursing students’ attitudes, beliefs and plans for emigration
• The Bilateral Agreement between SA and the UK and its impact on the migration of South African HPs
• The experiences of UK doctors working in SA as part of a one year work experience programme.

Methodological approach:

Study one is conducted through the administration of questionnaires to 298 students at three medical schools and one nursing school in SA.
Study two is a qualitative study conducted at two public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.