Lead consultant on a study examining current migration trends of health care workers in Dominica and the CARICOM region has called for the establishment of a migration or labour policy protocol.
Dominica is among sixteen regional countries participating in the survey initiated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
So far two hundred persons have been interviewed from some of the participating countries as per PAHO/WHO Lead Consultant, Justine C. Pierre, and thirty-two reasons for migration has been recorded.
Among the seven top reasons that health workers gave for migrating were because of socio-economic reasons, better working facilities and less bureaucracy.
“Also we’re seeing that…there is a perception that the health care [system] is not providing the adequate service for the population and that’s a perception issue,” Pierre informed.
“Also we’re seeing there’s an issue of trust and faith and the whole confidentiality of medical services. We have that issue, not only in Dominica, but throughout the English speaking Caribbean…better compensation, the main reason is that the better compensation,” Pierre explained.
He indicated that the main instrument being used to obtain the data is through an enterprise survey. It is taking to account where the nurses are migrating to, where Caribbean governments are sourcing health workers to replace those who left, inter-Caribbean, and chain migration.
As part of the survey recruiting agencies were also interviewed to determine the reasons why they target Dominican and Caribbean health workers.
Pierre stated that the Caribbean has “unique competences” that recruiters and human resource persons need and as the population ages, developed countries will need more persons within the health care sector.
These unique competences, as outlined by Pierre, are that Dominican nurses speak English, have good work ethics, training, and “good manners they will say ‘yes sir and yes ma’am and Mrs. this and Mr. that which is rare for most people”.
Pierre explained that the study has highlighted the need for effective migration and labour policies since any recruitment agency can come to Dominica “and just take their health care workers and no one can do anything about it”.
“One of their reasons is that there is no migration policy in any of the countries in the OECS, so there is no policy based on migration, how many persons you want in your country, how many persons you want to leave, what are some of the migration protocols, there’s nothing,” Pierre informed.
The study on migration trends among health workers therefore reveals the need for governments within the region to set up effective migration and labor policies.
If these policies and protocols are established, recruiting agencies will have to report to the Ministry of Labor or some government agency before seeking to recruit citizens.
“So that we may have some sort of control as to how any human recourse persons you take form their country,” Pierre said.
“But if nothing is done, no one can stop health workers from leaving and that is why we encourage governments to set up effective labour migration policies,” Pierre added.
The results of the study on migration trends among health workers will be used to develop recommendations and address the challenges that migration poses for the health sector of countries involved.
During his visit, Pierre met with Health Minister, Dr. Kenneth Darroux and other senior health officials.
The survey team ended its two-day visit here on Tuesday 12 June 2018 and moved to Montserrat.