Rabat – Faced with the constant criticism of “ineffectiveness, inefficiency, and lack of adequate equipment” in Morocco’s public health sector, the Ministry of Health has announced a new collaborative program with foreign health practitioners.
The program, initiated by the Minister of Health, Anas Doukkali, will seek the services of foreign doctors to operate in rural areas of the kingdom, a task that their Moroccan counterparts generally decline. In the province of Tata, for example, there are only 8 doctors to attend to the health problems of a population of over 120,000 people.
In the initial phase of the Ministry of Health’s new program, 20 experienced Senegalese health practitioners and medical graduates are expected to start operating in Tata in coming weeks, a move that will increase the remote region’s medical staff to 28 professionals.
Reports indicate that Senegalese doctors were selected after a call for applications and a thorough evaluation process that Moroccan officials, with the help of their Senegalese counterparts, launched the country’s capital, Dakar.
Explaining that some other contracts have been signed with sub-Saharan doctors, as well as professionals from outside the continent, the minister added that additional foreign doctors will be joining Morocco to operate in other far-away provinces.
And according to Al Ahdath Maghribia and Al Massae, the first outlets to report on the story, the Minister of Health also justified his decision in terms of a desperate step that was needed to end “the health desert” ailing many enclaved and rural regions and provinces in Morocco.
Earlier this year, the health ministry organized a test with the aim of recruiting 32 health professionals for work in rural areas. Sadly, however, the test organizers received no applications, say some sources at the ministry.
Deploring Moroccan doctors’ refusal to work in places that need them more, Al Ahdath Maghribia decried that many highly-trained Moroccan doctors choose to migrate in France for “better opportunities,” exacerbating the already-serious brain drain befalling many sectors. The newspaper added that 53 percent of the medical professionals who stay in the kingdom prefer to work in the private sector, an option that brings “juicier opportunities” than the “decaying public sector.”