SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
BACKGROUND: There is much concern about the migration of health professionals from developing countries, and the contribution of active recruitment to the phenomenon. One active recruitment strategy is advertisements in professional journals and other media. OBJECTIVE: To establish the trends in foreign advertisements for doctors placed in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) from January 2006 to December 2010. METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of 60 issues of the SAMJ published in the preview years. Printed journals were scanned for foreign advertisements. The findings were compared with a review of 2000 - 2004 in the same journal. RESULTS: There were 1 176 foreign advertisements placed in the SAMJ in the review period, reducing from 355 in 2006 to 121 in 2010. The countries placing the most advertisements were Australia (n=428, 36.4%), Canada (n=286, 24.3%), New Zealand (n=191, 16.2%) and the UK (n=108, 9.2%). Compared with the earlier findings, there was a reduction in advertisements for the top countries, excepting Australia. The top 4 countries remained the same for the 2 review periods, but the order changed, with Australia superseding the UK. CONCLUSION: The number of foreign advertisements placed in the SAMJ declined over the period under review, and there was a change in ranking of the top 4 advertising countries. These findings are discussed from the perspective of global human resources for health initiatives.