• Algiers

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at 7:31 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 15, 2024 at 4:55 AM

Row in Algeria Over Doctors Emigrating for Better Standards of Living

(AWP) - News of several Algerian doctors passing exams in France, qualifying them to work there, has sparked wide-scale controversy in Algeria as medical staff are lacking in rural regions, while the government insists that it spends considerable funds on educating and training doctors.

Mohamed Qadiri, the head of the student’s union at the College of Medicine and Pharmacy in Algiers, said doctors emigrate because they are unable to get a decent standard of living after many years of studying.

He explained, “Students in Algerian universities study for a period ranging from 7 to 12 years. After graduation, they start searching for a job but face unemployment. Therefore, student doctors see a different and better standard of living in foreign countries.”

Jaafar Basha, a professor at a medical college, describes the emigration of Algerian doctors as a “difficult problem.”

Basha said, “These students should give back a little to society and country that helped them and not just think of themselves. The government and relevant authorities helped them until they became doctors. I believe they should show gratitude to their homeland and then they may emigrate wherever they wish.”

The Algerian Health Minister Abdelhak Saihi downplayed the emigration issue, noting that Algeria has 36,000 general practitioners and 18,000 specialists.

He said, “The doctors who migrated may have had their reasons, but what we know is that specialists in Algeria are still present in our homeland and medical activities continue as usual.”

However, despite this, Saihi admitted a decrease in some specialisms but said the ministry was already addressing the problem by doubling the number of specialist graduates.

He said, “Specialists have been provided by training doctors for five years. The first batch will graduate this month. It includes 146 doctors for the southern regions and the High Plateaus.”

Algerian newspapers reported that nearly 15,000 doctors had left their country over the past 30 years to settle in France – an average of 500 doctors every year.