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Sub-Saharan Africa needs to double number of health workers, study finds

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3332 (Published 14 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3332
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. 1London

    A study of the health workforce in Africa has warned that by 2015 there will be critical shortages of doctors and other health workers throughout sub-Saharan Africa (Health Affairs 2009;28:w849-62, doi:10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w849). This could severely inhibit the United Nations’ millennium development goals. The authors estimate that the cost to eliminate these shortages approach $20bn (£12bn; €14bn).

    The report studied 39 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and found that 31 will experience shortages of doctors, nurses, and midwives, totalling about 800 000 health professionals. Sub-Saharan Africa has just 39 000 doctors, compared with the 280 000 needed. The report estimates the additional annual wage bill needed to eliminate the shortage at about $2.6bn, …

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