Rabat - Brain drain is a traditional reality in the global South. Every year, in search of better working conditions, thousands of well-trained professionals choose to move to Western countries.
Rabat – Brain drain is a traditional reality in the global South. Every year, in search of better working conditions, thousands of well-trained professionals choose to move to Western countries.
According to Moroccan outlet Medias24, a new bill that guarantees an easier professional integration for foreign medical doctors in France, and has already attracted a wave of Egyptian and Tunisian doctors, might have a similar effect on Moroccan physicians who, with “under-equipped” and “underpaid” personnel are reportedly facing harsh working conditions.
Faced with physicians’ growing temptation to emigrate, and in a move to contain it, Moroccan medical authorities have announced that the French bill will not affect Morocco to a great extent, emphasizing patriotism. Only 20 medicine graduate or established physicians choose to work in a country other than Morocco, according to the National Council of Moroccan physicians.
Media 24 has however raised doubts about the fact that Moroccan doctors, unlike their counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia, won’t be tempted by the promising prospects that the French bill allows. “But these reassuring numbers clash with our investigation,” said Media 24 referring to the National Council’s official statistic.
According to the report, underpayment and difficult working conditions are the factors making more and more Moroccan doctors consider emigration.
“After ten years of study, we are sent to faraway regions for miserable salaries and deplorable working conditions. For those who do not have the means to open a private office or find a job in the private sector, going to France or Germany remains the only way to ensure a guaranteed future,” one of the interviewed doctors reportedly said, complaining that their profession is not duly respected in Morocco.
After telling Medias24 that “family reasons” constitute the only thing still keeping him in Morocco, another doctor reportedly said that he knows a number of colleagues who have taken the plunge, specifying that “Had I not got recently married and got a child, I would not have hesitated a moment, because in Moulay Youssef Hospital, where I work, we are short of everything.”
The now-famous bill, which was passed in November 2017, allows non-French medical practitioners (be they graduates of French or foreign universities) to be fully integrated in the French Medical establishment and have equal treatments and rights as their French counterparts.
“According to our source, this [the bill] will allow an explosion of Moroccan exodus, especially of young or newly graduates who do not have significant professional attachments in their home country,” reports Medias24, stressing that Germany, which has similar legal dispositions for medical doctors, especially as the state even funds language courses for foreign medics, will surely be another attractive destination for Moroccans.
“Morocco runs the risk of becoming a medical desert if this trend continues,” Medias24 complains.
What about Moroccan Patriotism?
Moroccans are reportedly known for their patriotism, their unconditional love for Morocco. And while the tempting prospects of emigrating to Europe is a serious challenge, Houcine Maouni, who presides over the national council of Moroccan physicians, is allegedly confident that “Moroccan doctors will not let themselves be seduced”, and that French and German dreams will “fail in the face of Moroccan patriotism.”
Mr. Maouni reportedly complained that “Moroccans exercising elsewhere” are depriving Moroccan hospitals of a much-needed asset, with Morocco already “experiencing a dearth of medical personnel with 7.3 doctors/10,000 inhabitants, below WHO’s set norms (1 doctor/650).” He, however, stressed that the situation does not despair him as his Moroccan colleagues “have a deep-seated sense of patriotism.”
“Moreover, as Morocco is becoming a medical hub, they will be less tempted to go. The problem here is different from what it is in Tunisia. 45% of Tunisians choose to emigrate because Tunisia provides them with no prospects. For us, there is room for everyone, even if working conditions are generally not optimal,” Maouni said.