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Managed migration important to the development of the Caribbean

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August 25 Bridgetown Barbados: Managed migration of nurses in the Caribbean is essential as it can retain an adequate number of competent nursing personnel to deliver health care programmes and services to Caribbean nationals. Managed migration is important since the impact of nursing migration is a loss in public investment in training nurses at the basic level. This is estimated at US$16.7 million. In fact, the costs of sick outs and civil action are estimated to be US$2.6 million across the region. .

However, the managed migration programme in the Caribbean is an example of a co-ordinated intervention that attempts to minimise the negative impact of migration while securing some benefits from the process.

According to International Council of Nurses (ICN) nurse leader and certified trainer, Angela Crawford, the managed migration programme supports a win-win strategy in health professional migration.

Speaking at the recently held 23rd Quadrennial ICN Congress in Taiwan, Crawford stated that the managed migration framework enables governments and other stakeholders to play a more active role in the migration for health workers.

She said that the programme, which started in 2001, is a broad-based approach, which addresses recruitment, retention, deployment and succession planning.

The key characteristics of this framework is that is it is multi- country. It has multi-intervention initiatives, multi-stakeholders and multiple partners, she added.

Crawford explained that the managed migration framework is a policy response based on the recognition that migration cannot be stopped where the principles of individual freedom are to be respected.

However, she added that interventions could be developed to ensure that migration is managed and moderated.

In her presentation entitled, Managed Migration of Health Care Professionals, she also outlined the advantages and disadvantages of short-term migration. This, she said, ranges from the standard of nursing in the domestic economy increasing to international standards and a reduction of brain drain in the region to brain circulation.

With reference to brain drain effect, she referred to the loss of human capital resulting in remaining nurses being burdened with extra responsibility.

Crawford also discussed the reasons why some nurses migrated and others did not. The conditions for staying ranged from family commitment, patriotism, fear of the unknown to promotional opportunities.

Referring to the reasons for leaving, Crawford said that this ranged from an unstable economic climate, poor financial remuneration to poor infrastructure within home territories.

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