Africa says Canada is stealing MDs

South Africa is losing too many doctors, but ‘it’s their problem’


Africa says Canada is stealing MDsSouth Africa needs doctors. The country is home to the world’s worst HIV epidemic, a growing tuberculosis problem, and high infant mortality rates. But rather than helping the struggling nation, South Africa’s high commissioner says Canada is doing the opposite: through intense recruiting campaigns, we’re poaching as many South African doctors as we can to help ease our own doctor shortage at home.

In a report, Dr. Abraham Sokaya Nkomo, South Africa’s high commissioner to Canada, complains that the doctors “migrate at a very high cost” to South Africa, causing “a huge loss of investment in education and training.” The report adds that Canada’s doctor poaching “makes it difficult to deliver good quality, easily accessible and equitable services” in South Africa.

Saskatchewan’s relatively high pay and an existing community of South African MDs make the province a top pick for emigrating doctors. Of 1,832 MDs in Saskatchewan, 277 family doctors and 96 medical specialists are South African immigrants, giving the province the highest per capita concentration of South African physicians in Canada.

Nkomo is calling for talks to help stem the flow of physicians, but his request is falling on deaf ears. “It’s really their own problem if physicians are having a difficult time in South Africa and they are leaving looking for better jobs,” says Dr. Fauzo Ramadan, the senior medical officer of the Five Hills Health Region in southern Saskatchewan. Bryan Salte, legal council for the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons, adds that many doctors leave South Africa simply out of fear for their family’s security.

But while Ramadan thinks an agreement to stop poaching doctors is unnecessary, he does say that the province has a long-term goal of one day producing all its doctors domestically. “Our provincial policy is to concentrate on Canadian-trained physicians and increase recruitment and retention,” he says. “We are really working hard to increase Canadian-trained physicians.”


Africa says Canada is stealing MDs

  1. South Africa needs to be open for others to work as well. There is a lot of work permit and immigration difficulties. Working situation is uncomfortable. Racism is the major problem that creates conducive environment to leave the country. Who wants to work in South Africa with all your mechanism to degrade others? Finish your apartheid business first so that other skilled Africans can come to South Africa and work. Improve immigration service first and trust other African qualifications as well. Ethiopian qualification is more reliable and better qualification as South African. But your degree quality testers do whatever they can to stop dark skinned qualified workers in South Africa. Still, South Africa do not opened eyes to look the good.

  2. I am very happy with the skill of the South African doctors who've moved here. From what I understand South Africa is crime-ridden and dangerous, so it's no wonder their doctors want to move to relatively safe and crime-free Canada.

    They make up for all of our Canadian trained doctors moving to the US.

    • Canada: marginally better than South Africa as a place to practice medicine. Shall we get the marketing whizzes to come up with a pithy catchphrase?

    • I strongly resent the website you have posted and what it stands for. No system is perfect, there will always be flaws. The difference with Canada is that we are constantly trying to improve and fix the system. If you don't like Canada, get the heck out and leave us alone.
      My Grandparents and parents immigrated here from Eastern Europe, and I am thankful every day that they did, and for the privilleged life I have known here in Canada. I have received a great education, great health care, and the priviledge to live in the best country in the World!
      I have to state it again: if you don't like Canada, get the heck out, you hoser!
      PS: how has this post been up for over a week and no one else has commented?!?

      • It's a shame in this great system your literacy has suffered. If you read carefully the article is not bashing Canada but rather expresses concerns over the impending shortage of doctors in south Africa. You appear to be so bent on bashing foreigners that you cannot even get the point of this article.

  3. Lets come clean alright. Canada medical institution is the major culprit in this medical mess. In our nine provinces and three or more territories, there is at least one university per province teaching and turning out medical doctors. In ontario and Quebec, there are 3 to 4 universities. Our tax dollars goes to susidize these doctors education. How do the medical power selects them and have they repay the investment that the people of Canada invest in their education by serving in their communities? There are sufficient doctors for every communities from the graduates we possess. If not, what about all those science students who did not meet the cut from the so call medical powers, couldn't a bit more training put more doctors into the field. We , as one of the first class power , developed nation need not to poach a poorer, developing nation like South Africa for their limited but so necessary resouce like medical doctors.

    • Canada doesn't poach – they come willingly, out of their own volition, to escape one of the most violent societies on earth.

  4. Canada is also losing some doctors who are going for much greener pastures in the US. So South Africa all you can do now is make their conditions even more attractive to stay. The problem with Africa is that the government spends more to educate doctors and other professions because education is pretty much free(thankfully) but after they are done with education, you don't know how to take care of the professionals who at the same time can not stand to be in a system which is so biased and not seeing where your tax dollars are being used by the same leaders. Just make their lives normal and they will really stay. Do your math and learn to keep the people you educate other countries are benefitting from them after you spend money to educate them.

    Goodluck to your call

  5. It's a complex issue involving a clash between individual and communal interests. The outcome, though, is not in doubt. South Africa, a poor country, is subsidizing health care in Canada because we are not prepared to educate enough of our own doctors. This is NOT the same as losing our grads to another rich country like the US. I think any time we recruit a doc from a developing country we should have to pay for doing so. At the moment, we are getting these guys for free.

  6. I am a doctor in RSA and i am moving to Canada cause I live in fear……

  7. It really makes no sense for RSA to subsidize Canadian healthcare. The problem may solve itself as South African training gradually falls below North American standards, although I suspect the Canadian Medical Boards will try to ignore this trend as long as possible.

  8. South Africa is hardly a poor country. The biggest problem is that is is a corrupt one. Money for crime and improving hospitals etc is used to line pockets. The doctors get what is arguably the best training in the world, understandably, they also want the best (and safest) lifestyle possible to them.