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Nigeria, 54 Other Countries Lack Adequate Health Workers

FG, WHO Launch Response Strategy To Combat Outbreaks

Nigeria and 54 other countries have been added to the World Health Organization‘s (WHO) Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List 2023.

According to the global health organization, the countries face the most pressing health workforce challenges associated with universal health coverage.

“In particular, these countries have: 1) a density of doctors, nurses and midwives below the global median (i.e., 49 per 10 000 population); and 2) a universal health coverage service coverage index below a certain threshold,” WHO said in the report released.

“To account for the disruptions caused to health services by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects on health worker mobility and migration, the threshold for the universal health coverage service coverage index for the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list 2023 has been increased from 50 (the value used for the 2020 list) to 55.”

The organization also said “The WHO health workforce support and safeguard list 2023 does not prohibit international recruitment, but recommends that government-to-government health worker migration agreements:

  • be informed by health labour market analysis and the adoption of measures to ensure adequate supply of health workers in the source countries;
  • engage Ministries of Health in the negotiation and implementation of agreements; and
  • specify the health system benefits of the arrangement to both source and destination countries.”

“Health workers are the backbone of every health system, and yet 55 countries with some of the world’s most fragile health systems do not have enough and many are losing their health workers to international migration,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“WHO is working with these countries to support them to strengthen their health workforce, and we call on all countries to respect the provisions in the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list.”  The list should be used to inform advocacy, policy dialogue at all levels and financing efforts in support of health workforce education and employment in these countries.

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Gabon were among the 37 countries listed in the African Region category.

Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were also among the countries represented.

Only Haiti was named in the Region of the Americas category, while Afghanistan, Djibouti, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen were named in the Eastern Mediterranean Region category.

Bangladesh, Nepal, and Timor-Leste were included in the South-East Asia Region category.


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