Migration of South African health workers: the extent to which financial considerations influence internal flows and external movements

George, Gavin and Atujuna, Millicent and Gow, Jeff (2013) Migration of South African health workers: the extent to which financial considerations influence internal flows and external movements. BMC Health Services Research, 13. pp. 297-311.

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Background: The loss of human resource capacity has had a severe impact on the health system in South Africa. This study investigates the causes of migration focussing on the role of salaries and benefits. Health professionals from public, private and non-governmental (NGO) health facilities located in selected peri-urban and urban areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa were surveyed about their current positions and attitudes toward migration.
Methods: The study uses cross-sectional data collected in 2009. A total of 694 health professionals (430 in the public sector, 133 in the NGO sector and 131 in the private sector) were surveyed. An additional 11 health professionals were purposively selected for in-depth interviews. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to determine whether salaries influenced HWs decisions to migrate.
Results: HWs decision to move was not positively associated with lower salaries. It was found, instead, that the consideration to move was determined by other factors including age, levels of stress experienced and the extent to which they were satisfied at their current place of work.
Conclusions: The OSD appears to have lowered the risk of HWs migrating due to low salaries. However, the results also indicate that the South African Department of Health needs to improve working conditions for HWs within the public health sector to assist in retention.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 BioMed Central Ltd. Open Access Journal. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work, adapt or make commercial use of the work. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2013 01:57
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2015 02:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: health workers; public health sector; South Africa; migration, occupational specific dispensation
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140211 Labour Economics
16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160303 Migration
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9102 Microeconomics > 910202 Human Capital Issues
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-297
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23899

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