African Medical Migration

African Medical Migration
African Medical Migration
Image Credit: Judith Schuehle

African Medical Migration: Nigerian Doctors in the USA between Conflicting Priorities of Moral, Economic and Professional Commitment

Judith Schühle

The international migration of medical doctors from sub-Saharan Africa has increased remarkably over the last decades. 40 % of all graduates from one cohort of the University of Nigeria have migrated ten years after having finished medical school. The USA present the most favored destination country for medical doctors from sub-African Africa. So far, an analysis of the medical migration in connection with the keyword “brain drain” has been conducted only from an economic and political science perspective. Empirical studies focusing on the experiences and wider life contexts of the medical doctors themselves have remained absent. This project is going to build upon the current state of research on the migration of African medical doctors by paying close attention to the research areas of: 1) skilled migration, 2) biomedicine in and from Africa and 3) transnational networks. It will explore from an emic perspective the migration experiences of Nigerian medical doctors in the USA. Individual, social and cultural incentives to migrate will be identified and the inclusion of the medical migrants in translocal, professional, geo-ethnic and family-based or religious networks analyzed. The self-conception of being a medical doctor and how this may change through the influences of migration and the encounter with (potentially) different medical systems and professional and ethical codes will also be in focus. A thick description of how African medical migrants locate themselves in a globalizing biomedical landscape and what kind of influence transnational networks have on the dynamics of belonging, mobility and moral responsibility towards the medical doctors’ country of origin will enable the establishment of a more comprehensive picture of the African Medical Migration than quantitative studies have been able to deliver.

Funded by: German Research Foundation

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger