‘Immigration of healthcare professionals could jeopardize healthcare system in Tunisia’ (ITES)

Tunis: The immigration of healthcare professionals represents a major challenge to the Tunisian healthcare system, if no major measures are taken to deal with it, according to a survey entitled 'Immigration of Healthcare Professionals: Challenges for the Tunisian Healthcare System', recently published by the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (French: ITES). The survey offers an in-depth analysis of the situation and calls for concrete action to be taken so as to combat the phenomenon of immigration of healthcare professionals. According to figures provided by the Tunisian Technical Cooperation Agency (French: ATCT) included in the survey, the number of cooperators in the health sector is increasing more quickly than the overall number of guest workers. From 2016-2022, the average annual growth rate of healthcare guest workers was 8% compared to 5% in total, the same source said. Healthcare professionals (nurses, senior technicians, midwives, etc.) represent on average 72% of total recruits, includi ng specialist doctors (21% on average) and only 7% for general practitioners over from 2009 to 2022. Until April 2023, the share of 'healthcare personnel' recruits exceeded 92% of the total healthcare recruitments. In addition, cooperators in the field of healthcare represent, in Europe, 48% of the total cooperators. According to ATCT data, 52% of guest workers in the 'healthcare' field are based in Arab countries, followed by Europe. However, Europe and Canada recorded the highest growth rates in the number of recruits (22 and 21% respectively on annual average from 2009 to 2022) while the number of recruits in Arab countries and Africa is evolving with a respective annual growth rate of 4% and 5% over the same period. Until April 2023, over 65% of recruits immigrate to Europe, particularly Germany with 190 personnel. The European destination, particularly Germany, records the highest growth rate for the 'healthcare professionals' category (21% per year on average from 2009 to 2022), followed by Canada w ith a rate of 20 % per year over the same period, followed by Africa with 10% and the Arab countries with a rate of 7%. Germany has become the leading destination for the 'healthcare professionals' category since 2019 with an increase of 50% on average per year between 2019 and 2022. In 2022, 93% out of 459 recruited in Germany are healthcare workers According to the ITES survey, these figures are confirmed by a study carried out by the Institute of Healthcare Professions (IMS). They were presented during the healthcare professions fair in June 2023. The destination countries for nurses and midwives are: Germany (47%), Saudi Arabia (12%), Qatar (12%), United Arab Emirates (6%) and France (6%) respectively. Until 2019, Saudi Arabia is the most favorite destination for healthcare specialists with an average annual growth rate of 11% from 2009 to 2019. Most general practitioners were hired in Saudi Arabia from 2009-2020. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse