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Poorly paid doctors and nurses flee Africa for Canada



Scores of doctors and nurses are fleeing Cameroon for better-paying jobs in Canada. The exodus has left the country’s healthcare system reeling, with many facilities understaffed and unable to provide adequate care.

Neville Leinyuy, a 39-year-old nurse, is one such example. Despite his decade-long experience, he was unable to find a decent-paying job in Cameroon and opted for a nursing program in Canada. He now lives there with his family, earning a significantly higher salary than he would have in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s healthcare sector is plagued by low salaries, with many health workers earning less than $100 a month. This has led to a brain drain, with many trained professionals seeking better opportunities abroad. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 75% of African nations face medical staff shortages, with many healthcare professionals leaving to work in countries like Canada.

The situation is dire, with Cameroon having fewer than seven nurses per 10,000 inhabitants, compared to Canada’s 14-fold ratio. The lack of health workers makes it challenging to tackle infant mortality, infectious diseases, and provide essential services like vaccinations.

While Canada faces its own health workforce shortages, its recruitment of international workers has raised ethical concerns. The WHO’s code of practice emphasizes strengthening health systems in developing countries dealing with medical personnel shortages.

Cameroon’s government has taken some steps, including employing around 100 doctors each year, but this falls short of the needs of a population of 28 million people. Private sector recruitment is even lower, with many health facilities struggling to retain staff.

The crisis is further compounded by the country’s ongoing separatist conflict, which has destroyed or abandoned over 210 health facilities, according to the United Nations.

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As the brain drain continues, Cameroon’s healthcare sector remains in crisis, with many health workers seeking greener pastures abroad. The situation highlights the need for urgent attention and investment in the sector to stem the tide of talent leaving the country.

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