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World faces doctor, nurse shortage

Tuesday November 12th, 2013

The world is not training enough health professionals for the future, a major report says today.

Just 168 medical schools exist in sub-Sarahan Africa - and it will not be enough to cater for the continent as health services improve, the World Health Organisation says.

The WHO report comes as a separate report reveals a massive shortfall of nurses in the UK - with increased efforts to recruit from overseas.

WHO says 11 African countries have no medical schools and 24 have just one.

And it warns that across the developed world, some 40% of nurses are set to quit their jobs or retire within the next ten years.

It warns that "demanding work and low pay" means that many young health workers have little incentive to stay in the profession.

The report cites England as one country "dependent" on foreign workers, stating that 35% of its doctors are overseas-trained.

The report calls for action to retain health workers in countries with the greatest shortages.

The findings were reported at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health at Recife, Brazil.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, of WHO, said: “The foundations for a strong and effective health workforce for the future are being corroded in front of our very eyes by failing to match today’s supply of professionals with the demands of tomorrow’s populations.

“To prevent this happening, we must rethink and improve how we teach, train, deploy and pay health workers so that their impact can widen."

Tags: Africa | NHS | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News | World Health

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