The Libyan doctors'brain drain: an exploratory study


Medical emigration from developing to developed countries is a well established phenomenon of substantial importance. Though Libya is classified as an upper-middle income country, it has been affected by this trend.

This study was undertaken to identify some of the possible reasons behind the emigration of Libyan doctors and factors that might motivate them to return.FindingsSeventy-four completed questionnaires were analysed. Median age of the respondents was 43 years (33-60) and median duration of stay outside Libya was 15 years (6-29).

Most of the participants were resident in Europe (66%). The desire to further their education and research was the main reason given by 88% of the respondents for leaving Libya, while 50% of them gave that as the main reason for staying abroad.

One-third of the respondents (31%) cited economic factors as the main reason for not returning. None of the respondents ruled out returning to Libya, and about half of them stated that they definitely or probably will return to Libya.58% ranked reform of the Libyan health system as the most important reason that could induce them to return to Libya.

Conclusions: The study shows that reforming the health care system in Libya might induce some of the physicians who moved abroad mainly for educational and economic reasons to return to Libya to practise medicine.



Published on: 2009-12-08

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