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Brain drain: No solution in sight to retain skilled staff

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    [TD="class: contentheading, width: 100%"]Brain drain: No solution in sight to retain skilled staff [/TD]
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    [TD="class: createdate"] Monday, 31 October 2011 19:22 [/TD]
    By Esther Kibakaya
    The Citizen Reporter

    Henry Kimaro graduated with a diploma in education 20 years ago from the Chang’ombe TTC, but two years after working as a Kiswahili and English teacher at Kilimanjaro Boys Secondary School he left the country for greener pastures, citing economic hardships.Kimaro joined the increasing number of professional Tanzanians frustrated by poor remuneration and seeking a better life out of the country.

    “At that time I was earning a take-home salary of Sh20,000, but as a country we were not doing well enough economically,” said Kimaro, who left for Kenya where there was a high demand for Kiswahili teaching jobs.
    That was way back in 1982, and Kimaro says many of his colleagues were already working in the neighbouring country, employed by the Kenyan government.

    “In Kenya, we were earning a salary ranging from Ksh40,000 to Ksh50,000. Additionally, we had many benefits, including free medical and education aid for our children. I worked until 2001 when I resigned to join a private school.”

    Slow economic growth
    It may be over three decades down the line but Tanzania is still losing a significant number of key professionals to the West and other African countries. The result is slow economic growth, experts have said.

    According to a 2007 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Information Center, 12 Least Developed Countries have lost over one third of their qualified professionals to emigration in recent years.

    The report, titled ‘Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development’, said more qualified people from poor countries are flocking to the developed world to seek better working conditions and better pay.
    “One million out of 6.6 million people with tertiary level qualifications from developing countries were found to be working in developed countries,” part of the report reads.

    And information from some key ministries shows that Tanzania has been losing a significant number of qualified professionals such as doctors, nurses and teachers to southern Africa, notably Botswana, and Namibia.

    “Our country is suffering due to brain drain, just like any other developing nation,” says Dr Gilbert Lema, from the Mission Mikocheni Hospital in Dar es Salaam. “Among the reasons that have forced out most health workers, especially, is poor remuneration at home.”

    Most doctors earn around Sh820,000 gross. “The take-home salary is around Sh580,000. This is the little money that one has to use to pay school fees, buy food and so forth. Do you really expect that same person to stick around when he or she gets a job somewhere?

    A few of those who have remained are not giving their whole to what they were trained to do. He said there are many competent health professionals, who have decided to shift their careers to other fields, in which they can earn decent salaries.

    “You find that many doctors now, if they are not politicians, they are entrepreneurs in non-health related industries because that pays much better than the health services they were trained to do,” says Dr Lema.

    In 2009, the ministry of health said the reforms undertaken by the government in the health sector since 2006 to curb brain drain had started to pay off, with 60 per cent of medical personnel working in the public sector. But only a little shows on the ground that things are changing for the better.

    Contacted for comment, the health ministry’s communications officer, Nsachris Mwamwaja, told Success that statistics on how many professionals the country was losing were available. However, “I don’t have them at hand,” he said. “But our HR department has updated and accurate figures. I will check and give them to you,” he said. He had not given the statistics by the time we went to press.

    The worst affected areas rural areas, which have always been a no-go area for the majority of competent health and other key professionals due to lack of infrastructure. In most rural areas, there is no reliable electricity and the roads are impassable, especially during the rain season.

    “A doctor, even if he or she is committed, cannot do his work where there are no enough stocks of medicine, supplies and equipment. Such a situation is discouraging,” Dr Lema avers.
    Dr Namala Mkopi, president of the Medical Association of Tanzania, agrees. He says there is need to priorities retaining medical professionals in Tanzania.

    “We have a lot of doctors who are qualified but they are working outside the country, and this should not be the case,” he said.
    Interestingly, he notes that while there is a general cry of doctor shortages, the government plans to employ not more than 200 new medical practitioners, yet over 600 graduated.

    Still, he quickly points out, the conditions are “too bad”. “Imagine that it takes more than six months for a doctor’s name to be entered into the payroll?” he queries.

    Stopgap measures
    In a bid to fix the problem, the government has over the years employed medical assistants and nurses to be in charge of some rural health centres. The result is a poor health delivery system that often manifests itself in preventable deaths, as well as high infant and maternal mortality.

    “There is only one way out of this problem. We need to have in place, measures to ensure that we retain key staff. But that will not happen without providing incentives to health workers to consider working in rural areas as a viable option,” Dr Lema advises.

    Statistics to determine the extent of brain drain in Tanzania are hard to get, especially from government sources. But with local universities churning out nearly a thousand or more doctors every year, one wonders where the numbers go.

    A doctor at Amana Hospital in Dar es Salaam noted that most of the medical professionals, who emigrate are the ones, who would have worked for several years and gained experience before deciding to leave the country.

    “In other countries they these professionals are treated with some respect. They get all the benefits they could only dream of getting back home, and the working conditions are far much better,” he said.

    According to him, medical professionals proposed to be paid Sh1.2 million but the ministry agreed to pay them a gross of Sh963,000, leaving many with a take-home salary of around Sh730,000.
    “The cost of living has become too high over the years, and with a salary like this you cannot do anything. Many professionals are living from hand to mouth.”

    It is estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa needs about 700,000 physicians to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the international framework to halve poverty by 2015.

    The UN Economic Commission for Africa has sounded the alarm on the mass departure estimating that some 20,000 African professionals leave the continent each year. WHO estimates that every time the southern Africa country educates a doctor who practices in Britain, Britain saves $184,000.

    TIMING JF-Expert Member

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    Tatizo letu tunadhani kuboresha afya indicator ni daktari tu............. na tutaishia hivyohivyo...

    In our poor resource setting of healths system Drs play less than 15% contribution to the overall system and 25% to the patient outcome (no definite data)

    in addition, mazingira magumu nayo yanaharibu zaidi hamu ya kufanya kazi nchini
  3. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    Hata ukiwa willing kufanya kazi Tanzania na mshahara mdogo, huna peace of mind. Huna umeme, huna maji safi, huna usafiri wa haraka kwa safari zako.
  4. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Kama ndio uko Dar foleni za kufa mtu kwenda na kurudi kazini. Inabidi uamke usiku usiku ili uwaze kuwahi kazini na kurudi nyumbani pia ni usiku usiku kama inabidi usubiri foleni zipungue mabarabarani. Na jamaa aliyeahidi kujenga fly overs sijui atazijenga lini ikiwa kulipa mishahara ya Wafanyakazi tu kunamshinda....Kumchagua Kikwete 2010 ni janga la Taifa, alijisemea Dr Slaa.
  5. Nyambala

    Nyambala JF-Expert Member

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    Brain drain ni tatizo la dunia nzima, yes ni kubwa zaidi kwenye developing countries but is all about conditions and $$, other stuff follows after that. Hakuna uzalendo kama uzalendo maana yake ni kuishi maisha duni, kuishi na wasiwasi kila leo due to financial constraints, kusomesha watoto shule zisizo na vyoo wala madirisha . Ndiyo maana huwa inaniumiza sana pale wakulima wanapokataliwa kuuza mazao yao nje ya nchi lakini proffesionals can sell ujuzi wao anytyme anywhere in the world!!!!!!!! Hakuna anayekuzuia pale airport or in any other port of departure kwamba utaleta brain drain kama wanavyosema kuleta njaa kwa wakulima.
  6. Kichuguu

    Kichuguu Platinum Member

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    Dar ni sehemu nzuri sana socially, lakini siyo sehemu nzuri professionally kwa sababu nyingi sana. Watanzania wote tunaupenda sana utamadauni wa nchi yetu kiasi kuwa tusingependa kuuacha na kwenda kufanya kazi ughaibuni. Personally ninai-miss sana Dar kwenye social circles.

    Kati ya mambo yanayofukuza professionals kutoka Tanzania, ni pamoja na income disparity kati ya rare professions na political positions, na corruption. Iwapo rare professionals zitaheshimika tena kama ilivyokuwa zamani, halafu rushwa ikadhibitiwa kiasi kuwa raia wote wanaoga katika dimbwi moja, basi utaona watanzania wengi wanabaki nchini na kutumia kila jasho lao kuindeleza. Leo hii mwalimu akiingia darasani na kuwapiga vijana msasa wa modern Physics pamoja na makali yake lakini analipwa Tsh 10,000 tu kwa siku hiyo halafu wanasiasa na wale wneye nafasi za rushwa siku hiyo wanatengeza TSh milino kadhaa, ni wazi kuwa mwalimu huyo atajikua yuko out of touch na reality ya maisha hapo Tanzania na hivyo atatafuta namna ya kujiweka sawa nchi nyingine. Professional wengi wakisharudi Tanzania baada ya kuchuma huko nje huwa hawaendelezi profesional zao tena, badala yake huwa wanageuka kuwa wafanya biashara tu.