Four Million Additional Health Workers Needed Worldwide to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Other Diseases, Analysis Says
November 29, 2004
Fighting a "massive global shortage" of health care workers through the "mobilization and strengthening of human resources for health ... is central to combating health crises in some of the world's poorest countries and for building sustainable health systems in all countries," according to an analysis by the Joint Learning Initiative -- a consortium of more than 100 health care leaders -- that was published in the Nov. 27 issue of the journal Lancet (Chen et al., Lancet, 11/27). Approximately four million health care workers are needed worldwide in order to effectively fight diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in developing nations, according to the group, Long Island Newsday reports. The most heavily affected countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, where one million health care workers are needed, according to the analysis (Ricks, Long Island Newsday, 11/27). Three major forces are creating the global shortage of health care workers. First, the "triple threat" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is increasing workloads among health care workers, exposing them to possible infection and straining their morale, according to the analysis. Second, nurses and physicians moving from poorer nations to wealthier countries is creating a "brain drain" in the most-needy countries, the analysis says. Finally, two decades of "underinvestment in human resources" has "hit economically struggling and politically fragile countries the hardest," according to the analysis (Lancet, 11/27).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.