Medical graduate from Serbia who only wanted to work abroad

Medical graduate from Serbia who only wanted to work abroad

Emigration from Serbia to Germany – Case Story 2: Medical graduate from Serbia who only wanted to work abroad
Interviewee: male, 5 years in Germany, a medical doctor in residency on dermatology, regional hospital

An interviewee is a Serbian man who came alone to Berlin after his medical studies to continue his career and life here. He has been in Germany for five years. For about 10 last months, he has been working in a regional hospital as a medical doctor and as a dermatologist in residency training. Before that job, he was employed in another hospital in Germany.
He did not want to work in Serbia after graduating the medical studies, and he wanted to go abroad. Reasons, why he left home, include the poor quality of further professional training available to him and the unsatisfied financial and economic prospects of the country. He spent the first few months in an apartment organized by the hospital, and after about 5 months he found his apartment with the help of a German agency for the recruitment of professionals That German agency helps immigrant health workers, among other issues, to organize a job, find an apartment, the translation of documents/diplomas, and the correspondence to different organizations, but for a fee. That period of the immigration process lasted about 1 1/2 years. First, he had to meet specific requirements to practice as a doctor in Germany, such as the translation and recognition of medical studies (approbation). In addition, he had to complete a German course (at least a B2 level of language proficiency). After that, he applied for a visa. In order to get his license to practice medicine in Germany and to work as a doctor here, he had to pass a knowledge test. In that regard he commented, it is much easier for doctors from the European Union to settle and practice here than from non-EU countries. Find more HERE


Return to Serbia is not an option

Return to Serbia is not an option

Emigration from Serbia to Germany – Case Story 1: “Return to Serbia is not an option”
Interviewee: Female, 10 years in Germany, a molecular biologist at the Public Health Institute in Berlin.

Initially, the interviewee and her family came from Serbia, more precisely, she was a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and due to war-related reasons, she had to flee to Serbia. At that time, there were several reasons for emigration from Serbia to Western Europe, including dissatisfaction with the political situation, remuneration, and professional and quality-related reasons for professional development. This dissatisfaction resulted in existential fears and seeking a survival solution for a person and her family. After graduating as a molecular biologist in Serbia, she applied for a Ph.D. candidate position in Austria. During her Ph.D. studies, she lived in Austria for 5 years. She found a different foundation setting in Austria; the interviewee described that there were definitely problems with the origin; you had to prove to everybody why you were an emigrant in the country, and also being called “Yugo” – she found extremely inappropriate. Due to her expiring contract, she had to look for a new job. Unfortunately, she could not find a new job, and she had to return to Serbia. In Serbia, she became increasingly aware that she did not want to live in her home country and would like to move to a bigger city. Find more HERE


Conference about health workforce challenges

Conference about health workforce challenges

Conference about health workforce challenges, free movement of labour and medical deserts

Join this conference on November 30th, organised by Juozas Olekas (Member of EU Parliament), European Institute of Health and Sustainable Development (EIHSD), and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS).

This will be a hybrid event about balancing the free movement of workers in the EU with health workforce-related challenges, such as accessibility of health services and medical desertification.

Corinne Hinlopen, global health advocate at Wemos and project officer of Pillars of Health, will present a civil society perspective on equitable training, retaining and distribution of health workers.

Closing remarks will be given by Juozas Olekas, as well as Vytenis Andriukaitis, who also participated as a panelist at the launch session of Pillars of Health in May 2022.

Health workforce recruitment in Europe

Health workforce recruitment in Europe


Panel discussion on health workforce recruitment in Europe and beyond at the World Health Summit 2022

On October 17th 2022, Pillars of Health, dpgg (German Platform for Global Health), and vdää* (Association of Democratic Physicians) will organise an online panel discussion on health workforce recruitment in Europe and beyond during a side event at the World Health Summit 2022 in Berlin. As project coordinator of Wemos’ human resources for health programmes (including Pillars of Health), Aysel Rahimli will take part as one of the discussion’s panelists. In addition, Karen Spannenkrebs of one of our partner in Pillars of Health – vdää* – will give a welcome and introductory speech, and Remco van de Pas (Centre for Planetary Health Policy) will moderate the session.

The speaker panel will discuss questions on the effects of excessive health workforce recruitment, the adherence of European countries to the WHO Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel and visions and demands for just labour migration governance  and  regulation.

Date: October 17th, 2022
Time: 12.30 – 14.00 CET (lunch break at the World Health Summit)
Location: Zoom (recording will be available on the websites of Pillars of Health, dpgg, vdää*)
More information and registration: visit the website of the German Platform for Global Health

The flyer can be found here.

The recording of the event is now available. Please enter this password to view the recording: b^+6x.uB

Pillars of Health has been launched!

Pillars of Health has been launched!


Pillars of Health has been launched!

On May 20th, we successfully launched our new website and coalition during an engaging and dynamic session. Together with panelists, we discussed the maldistribution of health workers in the European Union and neighbouring countries, and how Pillars of Health and its coalition aims to contribute to a solution. You can watch the recording of the event on YouTube (see below).

The *session kicked off with an introductory speech by moderator Corinne Hinlopen (Pillars of Health programme officer), and presentations by Aysel Rahimli (Pillars of Health programme coordinator) about Pillars of Health, our initial research findings on health workforce mobility and migration in Germany, Romania, Serbia and on EU level, and interviews with Romanian health workers who migrated to the Netherlands and/or returned back to Romania.

During the panel discussion, our panelists (see below) engaged in a lively exchange about the needed (policy) changes to mitigate the negative effects of health workforce migration in Europe, to ensure equal access to health workers for everyone in Europe.


14:00 – 14:15
Brief introduction on:

The maldistribution of health workers in the European Union
Pillars of Health

14:15 – 14:25
Pillars of Health, a partnership for advocacy
Our research findings so far
The stories of health workers who migrate

14:25 – 14:45
Panel discussion with:

  • Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis (Special Envoy of the WHO for Universal Health Coverage for the European region and Member of the Political Advisory Panel of the UHC 2030 Movement (since 2020); former EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety (2014-2019))
  • Prof James Buchan (Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation, London)
  • Sarada Das (Deputy Secretary General of the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME))
  • Dr Milena Santric Milicevic (Prof Social Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia)

14:45 – 14:55
Q&A session

14:55 – 15:05
Pillars of Health coalition: joining forces for health worker balance in Europe

15:05 – 15:15
How to get involved