OBJECTIVES: To document the experiences of Iraqi doctors residing in Jordan before departure from Iraq and to assess factors associated with migration. METHODS: Respondent-driven sampling was used to obtain information from 401 Iraqi doctors arriving in Jordan after the invasion of 2003. Three seeds were used and chains were carried out to 10-11 waves of respondents; interviews were carried out either in person or by mobile phone. RESULTS: Migration of Iraqi doctors to Jordan peaked in 2006; 94 percent of doctors were from Baghdad and 25 percent had been internally displaced before migration to Jordan. Departure from Iraq was associated with a violent event in 61 percent (confidence interval [CI]: 56-65) of cases and 75 percent (CI: 70-79) of doctor households experienced a violent event before migration. Kidnappings or assassination attempts were reported by 17 percent (CI: 25-34) of doctors; male sex and older age were significantly associated with increased risk in multivariate models. Only 30 percent (CI: 25-34) of doctors reported they have plan to return to Iraq when the conflict is over and 6 percent (CI: 4-9) reported planning to return to Iraq within a year; the majority (52 percent, CI: 47-57) planned to settle in a third country. CONCLUSIONS: Iraq has lost many of its doctors as a result of the conflict, and the majority of those displaced in Jordan have no plans to return. The human capital losses associated with the large-scale displacement of Iraqi doctors are substantial and have left a critical void in human capital that will likely impact the health system for decades.
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