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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 16:38 GMT
Medical experts asked back to work
Medical academic working in a laboratory
Developing countries have a shortage of university teaching staff
Retired medical academics are being asked to work in universities in the developing world in an effort to overcome teaching staff shortages.

The World Medical Association wants them to register on a database and fill vacancies on a short-term basis.

Universities in many African and Asian countries have suffered a "brain drain" in recent years, the WMA said.

Experts in anaesthesiology, pathology, gynaecology and radiology are particularly in demand.

'Urgent need'

The Retired Academics Database, based at the Association of Commonwealth Universities in London, was set up last autumn.

Universities use it to seek staff specialising in all subjects.

Dr James Appleyard, president of the WMA, said: "We urgently need to encourage more medical academics to register on this database.

"Although it is primarily aimed at those nearing retirement, the database also accepts people at an earlier stage in their careers who would be interested in short-term contracts in the developing world, from three months to two years."

Around half the world's higher education students live in the developing world.

Dr Appleyard said: "Universities have suffered from the effects of 'brain drain', losing promising staff and students to overseas institutions and depriving their home countries of their talents as university teachers of the future."

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