Immigration Bill Will Remove Caps on Foreign Nurses, Affect Africa, Letter to the Editor Says
A "little-noticed" provision that addresses the shortage of nurses in the U.S. "stands to produce lasting damage" to sub-Saharan Africa, Isabella Mbai, head of the nursing sciences department at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and Eric Friedman, HIV/AIDS policy analyst for Physicians for Human Rights, write in a Washington Post letter to the editor. According to Mbai and Friedman, the provision would remove the limit on the number of foreign nurses allowed to immigrate to the U.S. -- "accelerat[ing] the flow of nurses" out of African countries that "desperately" need them to help fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Rather than offering Africa's health workers incentives to leave, the U.S. and other developed countries "have an obligation to help bolster wages and improve working conditions" in Africa, the authors say. The U.S. could train tens of thousands more nurses domestically each year by investing in U.S. nursing schools, Mbai and Friedman write, concluding, "Solutions to the U.S. nursing shortage shouldn't come at the cost of Africa lives" (Mbai/Friedman, Washington Post, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.