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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


CASSIM, Nadeem  and  RUGGUNAN, Shaun. A qualitative study of the factors influencing the global migration of anatomical pathologists in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2014, vol.19, n.1, pp.01-09. ISSN 2071-9736.

BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to identify the factors that influence the globalmigration of South African anatomical pathologists working in the province of KwaZulu- Natal. OBJECTIVE: The present study answered the question 'what factors influence Kwazulu-Natal-based histopathologists to emigrate out of South Africa?', thus providing insight into an under-researched medical specialisation. METHODS: A qualitative approach and purposive sampling were used. Data included 11in-depth interviews with histopathologists working in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and one interview with a former KZN-based histopathologist now working in the United States. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data were coded for patterns, and these patterns generated themes. The processes of coding and thematic generation were iterative. RESULTS: Six themes were discovered from the data. Of these, five themes suggested reasonsfor the potential emigration of histopathologists. : lack of recognition by clinical doctors, lack of career-pathing opportunities, the deterrent of compulsory service in the public sector upon qualifying, socio-economic and political instability in South Africa, and endemic levels of crime. A sixth theme revealed that remuneration was not a deciding factor as to whether histopathologists choose to emigrate. CONCLUSIONS: Remuneration was not revealed to be a reason for emigration, as these specialists' salaries are commensurate with global salaries. The findings, whilst not generalisable, suggest that more work needs to be done on the human relations aspects of retention for these medical specialists. This has implications for human resources for health policy.

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