The International Migration of Nurses and Doctors into Healthcare Systems: A Look into the Philippine Case

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:50 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Ligaya LINDIO-MCGOVERN , Indiana University Kokomo, Kokomo, IN

The International Migration of Nurses and Doctors Into Heathcare Systems:  A look into the Philippine Case

Ligaya Lindio-McGovern, Ph.D.

Indiana University, USA


The international migration of health professionals, such as nurses and doctors, has been a growing phenomenon in the globalization of the healthcare labor market, with serious consequences on the source countries’ capacity in maintaining sustainable domestic healthcare system. One consequence is an estimated shortage of 4.3 million health professionals required for delivering essential health care services to populations in need, posing a major barrier to providing the essential lifesaving health services.   A significant contributing factor to this shortage is the transnational migration, export and/or recruitment of health professionals from low and middle-income countries.

The general pattern of the international migration of nurses and doctors---where the movement is generally from the periphery/semi-periphery to the core ----either trans-continentally or within regions, has persisted. The combined stock of migration of nurses and doctors from the periphery of the global care economy comprises the larger portion of the international migration flow of nurses and doctors.  

This paper focuses on the Philippines as the top-ranking source country for nurses and fourth for doctors in the global care economy. It provides a brief profile of Filipino international nurse and doctor migration, offers an explanation of this phenomenon and what the consequences are of this pattern.  It incorporates insights from interviews the author conducted on the experiences of Filipino nurses and doctors who migrated to the US, Germany, and Denmark as part of a multi-phased research project on the international migration of nurses and doctors into healthcare systems.  A look into the Philippine case  can provide insights into the uneven outcomes of  labor migration in the global care economy in the context of neoliberalism and their policy implications.