Eritrea’s Frightening MASSIVE MEDICAL DRAIN
Perhaps the ONLY positive achievement of the political regime that ruled for the whole 3 decades of the post-independence period was in the health sector, namely the significant reduction in under-five childhood mortality, maternal mortality,
Perhaps the ONLY positive achievement of the political regime that ruled for the whole 3 decades of the post-independence period was in the health sector, namely the significant reduction in under-five childhood mortality, maternal mortality, > 90% coverage in immunization of children. These remarkable achievements were made possible through the tireless hard work of health workers: from community health workers, health assistants, midwives, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, sanitarians, physicians, public health professionals … Not forgetting the support – both financial & technical – of donor organizations, both international and bilateral.
The world has long since moved on from the MDGs to SDGs; and consolidating the gains made & achieving the health-related targets of SDG and responding to the increasing health demands of Eritreans will crucially depend on a dynamic and robust health system.
The BEDROCK of a national health system is its health workforce.
How many of Eritrea’s different health professionals have fled in the last two decades is difficult to establish. The Ministry of Health of the state of Eritrea, like everything else in Eritrea, doesn’t have an updated date on health personnel.
(The following audit pertains only to medical doctors which I have been updating on a regular basis ever since I fled from Eritrea in 2006 & what is shows is both alarming & frightening)
Out of a national total pool of roughly 500 medical doctors, at least 240 have already fled (at least 14 of these since the signing of the so-called peace agreement & 4 in the last 8 weeks of 2019). Here are the details: in 3 parts
Part I: Veteran (older) physicians (my age and older, educated in Ethiopia or other foreign nations)
- 26 Have already fled (including 11 general practitioners (GPs), 6 pediatricians, 2 radiologists, 3 ophthalmologists, 1 dermatologist, 2 Gynecology & Obstetric specialists, 4 surgeons
Part II: Orota School of Medicine & Dentistry Graduates (the YOUNG!) out of 354 total graduates 174 have left! By their batch
1st batch (graduated 2019): all 31 graduated doctors have left the nation
2nd batch (2010): 22 out of total 39 doctors have left
3rd Batch (2011): 22 out of total 39 left
4th batch (2012): 28 out of 49 left
5th batch (2013): 18 out of 39 have left
6th batch (2015): 19 out of 25 left
7th batch (2017): 14 out of 36 left
8th batch (January 2019): 12 out of 43 left
9th batch (August 2019): 6 out of 60 left
Part III: Orota School of Medicine & Dentistry: Doctors in dentistry: at least 11 left out of total 51:
1st batch (2014): 7 out of total 22 left
2nd batch (Jan 2019): at least 3 confirmed left out of 11 graduates
3rd batch (Aug 2019): at least 1 left out of total of 16 graduates