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The world grapples with a shortage of health workers

Nurse Shortage

Health workers are a name so noble and their deeds even more so. For a country to provide able workforce to the other professions it becomes foremost that the health charts of their citizens are good and healthy. Therefore, this leads us to think what exactly the job of a health worker is. Health workers are all those people who aim at enhancing health. They include people who provide health services like doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians etc. However, the population of these health enhancers is far beyond one would ever expect.

The global shortage of health workers is deteriorating with each passing day. Fifty-seven countries, most of them in Africa and Asia, face a severe health workforce crisis. WHO states that the world will be short of 12.9 million health workers by 2035; however today the figure stands at 7.2 million.

The effect of such a global scenario will be worse in less developed countries. For example, today Africa is home to 23% of world diseases and only provides 3% of the global health workforce. The impact on such countries will surely be catastrophic. There are several reasons that contribute to a shortage in the workforce of the health sector:

Health worker migration: This is one of the major causes of the shortage in the workforce available to this particular sector. Some of the wealthy nations offer lucrative offers to potential and trained health workers to work overseas. Almost 14 countries have lost most of their skilled workforce in such countries. This brain drain is worth billions of US dollars.

Poverty speaks:  The less developed countries do not provide enough to keep their skilled workforce intact. They are helpless when it comes to providing handsome salaries and keeping their workforce committed to the country. This way they are not able to keep up the retention of their people who already know the requisite skills. This loss is a big one to the LDCs.

Since there is acute shortfall as far as the monetary budget is concerned, LDCs are not able to spend upon generation a completely new set of the workforce as well. There is no way in which they can train the potential workforce. This way the creation of a new workforce remains a dream to these nations.

To meet international health standards, it must be ensured that health coverage is to everyone especially to those who face vulnerability. Therefore, these remote areas should have access to well-trained, culturally sensitive, and competent health staff.


The global risk involved with the shortage of health workers is massive and should be at a priority. The greater risk and suffering is written in the fate of the less developed nations. Retention of the old health workforce and creations of new ones is of utmost importance.

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