Venezuela’s Medical Brain Drain is Latin America’s Brain Gain

Over 22,000 medical professionals fled Venezuela from 2012-2017 and sought jobs in other Latin American countries.

The influx of specialists in places like Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Peru has helped address critical gaps in care—patients in poorer or rural communities wait months for specialty care and surgeries have years-long waiting lists. But a talent inflow isn’t a quick fix for stressed systems. Nations must construct reasonable credentialing procedures—a process that can take years—and match specialists with jobs where they’re most needed.
Venezuela’s uncertain future also means questioning how countries will cope if doctors decide to return home.

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