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Serious Shortage Of Health Workers In Fifty-Seven Countries

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  • Serious Shortage Of Health Workers In Fifty-Seven Countries

    Serious Shortage Of Health Workers In Fifty-Seven Countries
    Medical News

    The shortage of health workers in 57 countries has become so serious that the treatment of such life-saving interventions, such as childhood immunization, pregnancy support, birth delivery services, AIDS/HIV, Malaria and TB have become severely impaired.

    According to the World Health Report 2006, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), this shortage, combined with poor training and knowledge, is seriously undermining attempts to come to grips with such challenges as the spread and control of avian influenza (bird flu) and most chronic diseases.

    These 57 countries urgently need 4 million health care professionals, such as doctors, nurses, midwives, managers and public health workers. 36 of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.

    WHO Director-General Dr LEE Jong-wook, said "The global population is growing, but the number of health workers is stagnating or even falling in many of the places where they are needed most. Across the developing world, health workers face economic hardship, deteriorating infrastructure and social unrest. In many countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has also destroyed the health and lives of health workers."

    The Report states that a 10-year plan, involving national leadership to urgently formulate and implement country strategies, combined with donor assistance, is needed.

    Ten million people die each year as a result of infectious diseases and complications of pregnancy - deaths which could be prevented if health care workers were available.

    WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Timothy Evans, said "Not enough health workers are being trained or recruited where they are most needed, and increasing numbers are joining a brain drain of qualified professionals who are migrating to better-paid jobs in richer countries, whether those countries are near neighbours or wealthy industrialized nations. Such countries are likely to attract even more foreign staff because of their ageing populations, who will need more long-term, chronic care.”

    Over 1.3 billion people around the world do not have access to the most basic healthcare - usually because there are no health care workers.

    Sub-Saharan Africa has:

    -- 11% of the world's population
    -- 24% of the world's burden of disease
    -- 3% of the world's health workers

    World Health Report 2006