WHO: World Needs 4 Million Healthcare Workers


 
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SINGAPORE - Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nation's health division, appealed for more health professionals for the poor, while in Singapore for World Health Day. 

"The world needs 4 million more healthcare professionals" Chan said, urging member nations to train more doctors and nurses.

"Thousands of nurses, doctors and other health care workers from poorer countries have left their homes to emigrate to wealthier nations in search of better jobs.  This has left behind a brain-drain on their home countries", said Chan.

Also, some of the more powerful countries, including the United States, have gone to recruit health care workers from emerging nations.  The United States has gone to India, the Philippines and Pakistan in search of doctors in recent years.

Developing countries are suffering from an acute shortage of doctors and nurses.  The crisis is the worst in the sub-Sahara Africa. 

Chan said, "Huge gaps in health outcomes are growing wider and these gaps divide rather precisely along the lines of poverty and wealth".  Referring to the rich nations that are gaining the better healthcare workers and poorer countries that are left behind to suffer in poverty.

Also, R & D was being overlooked in poorer countries.  "Some emerging countries have only a single class of broadly effective drugs for malaria, despite having over 300-500 million cases annually and deaths of over 1 million a year."

While the sub-Sahara Africa has over 25% of the world disease burden, they have less than 3% of the healthcare workforce.

Ethiopia has 21 nurses per 100,000 people, while the United States has 900 nurses per 100,000 people.

Chan stated that there are over 57 countries in dire need of healthcare professionals, mostly in Africa and Asia.

"We need to rethink how can we train enough people who would stay and work in the villages in Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.

 


 
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