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Aid, restitution and international fiscal redistribution in health care: Implications of health professionals' migration

Mackintosh, M   Mensah, K   Henry, L   Rowson, M

Journal of International Development   18 (6) 757-770

August 2006   (First published online July 2006)

High and sustained levels of migration of health professionals from labour-short health services in low-income countries to the health services of rich countries create a perverse subsidy from poor to rich, flowing across national boundaries. This subsidy worsens international inequality, and creates an obligation, both ethical and legal, for the payment of restitution. Drawing on the case of the migration of health professionals from Sub-Saharan Africa to the UK, we argue that this obligation in turn constitutes an opportunity to shift development aid relationships away from a framework of charity towards a less neo-colonial ommitment to progressive international fiscal transfers.