[Skip to Navigation]
Medical News & Perspectives
October 24/31, 2007

Global Shortage of Health Workers, Brain Drain Stress Developing Countries

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1853-1855. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1853

A worldwide shortage of health care workers, coupled with a disproportionate concentration of health workers in developed nations and urban areas, stands in the way of achieving such key public health priorities as reducing child and maternal mortality, increasing vaccine coverage, and battling epidemics such as HIV/AIDS.

Currently, there are 2.4 million too few physicians, nurses, and midwives to provide essential health interventions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a shortage that will require adopting a global approach to health worker human resources. Various groups, including the WHO, professional organizations, and others are working to address both the global shortage as well as the circumstances and practices that encourage the disproportionate migration of health workers from developing nations to wealthier countries.