Its official: The countries of the world which have the least doctors per capita!

burton117

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Data Query Used on WHO

This is a ranking of the number of physicians per country in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Their data was last updated on October 26, 2004. So in terms of data integrity, this data should be as good as it gets.

I ran this query on the WHO website above to get the information attached to this post. Ran the query, exported to Excel, reformatted it, and then inserted the file into a Word document so that it could be attached here on SDN.
 

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virilep

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burton117 said:
Data Query Used on WHO

This is a ranking of the number of physicians per country in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Their data was last updated on October 26, 2004. So in terms of data integrity, this data should be as good as it gets.

I ran this query on the WHO website above to get the information attached to this post. Ran the query, exported to Excel, reformatted it, and then inserted the file into a Word document so that it could be attached here on SDN.
wow, I can't beleive Sierra Leone has more than Papua New Guinea or Zambia. Especially since Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world. I think the average salary for a household for a year is like less than $100 (I think). wow. thanks for posting this. pretty interesting.
 
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burton117

burton117

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I think Sierra Leone was the poorest country in the world for quite a few years until a couple of years ago. The UN ended a ten year civil war with the largest contigent of UN Peacekeepers in the world (15,000+) and that has moved it up in ranking considerably

Country Profile: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone in Depth on BBC

I worked for World Relief Sierra Leone for six months in 2003 doing development work and when I got there, it had just given up its "poorest country" ranking.


Poorest Countries in the World
Rank Country GDP - per capita
1 East Timor $ 500
2 Somalia $ 500
3 Sierra Leone $ 500
4 Malawi $ 600
5 Tanzania $ 600
6 Burundi $ 600
7 Congo, Republic of the $ 700
8 Congo, Democratic Republic of the $ 700
9 Comoros $ 700
10 Eritrea $ 700
11 Ethiopia $ 700
12 Afghanistan $ 700
13 Niger $ 800
14 Yemen $ 800
15 Madagascar $ 800
16 Guinea-Bissau $ 800
17 Zambia $ 800
18 Kiribati $ 800
19 Nigeria $ 900
20 Mali $ 900


Richest Countries in the World
Rank Country GDP - per capita
1 Luxembourg $ 55,100
2 Norway $ 37,800
3 United States $ 37,800
4 San Marino $ 34,600
5 Switzerland $ 32,700
6 Denmark $ 31,100
7 Iceland $ 30,900
8 Austria $ 30,000
9 Canada $ 29,800
10 Ireland $ 29,600
11 Belgium $ 29,100
12 Australia $ 29,000
13 Netherlands $ 28,600
14 Japan $ 28,200
15 United Kingdom $ 27,700
16 France $ 27,600
17 Germany $ 27,600
18 Finland $ 27,400
19 Monaco $ 27,000
20 Sweden $ 26,800


Source: CIA World Factbook
 

tacrum43

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virilep said:
wow, I can't beleive Sierra Leone has more than Papua New Guinea or Zambia. Especially since Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world. I think the average salary for a household for a year is like less than $100 (I think). wow. thanks for posting this. pretty interesting.
That was interesting. OP, thanks for your post. I didn't know that Canada had fewer doctors/100,000 than Tajikistan. Ok, honestly, I didn't know that Tajikistan was a country.
 

Will Ferrell

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Doesn't the U.S. import doctors from all over the world? If those doctors are so concerned about helping people, why don't they go to places where they're most needed?
 

ellia08

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wow. some things on that list were unexpected.

cool thread.
 

chocolate-e

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Wow ... thanks for posting.

Make me feel like learning some African language ...
 

stoic

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and wasn't there just a post about how the AMA was predicting a physician shortage in the coming years? kinda puts things in perspective.
 

erin682

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chocolate-e said:
Wow ... thanks for posting.

Make me feel like learning some African language ...
You'd be better off just learning french. Most africans speak english or french in addition to a local native language. My roomie is from Nigeria and in that country alone there are three unique languages.
 

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Kind of sad to see Grenada near the bottom of that list. I guess they benefit from having St. George's there, though. Not too many people there to begin with and a small island, so perhaps my commentary is pointless. :oops:
 

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tacrum43 said:
That was interesting. OP, thanks for your post. I didn't know that Canada had fewer doctors/100,000 than Tajikistan. Ok, honestly, I didn't know that Tajikistan was a country.
Figures... We all end up in the states eventually.
 
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burton117

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I just finished reading the book: "Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors without Borders." Pretty good read and right on about what life is like in a developing country trying to deal with all the various cultural, economic and health issue.s

It was pretty sweet as when I was in Sierra Leone, MSF had their child nutrition camp right across the road and I got to watch those doctors and volunteers make a huge impact over the course of a couple months.

Check them out..



Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

 
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burton117

burton117

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stoic said:
and wasn't there just a post about how the AMA was predicting a physician shortage in the coming years? kinda puts things in perspective.
This is a good point.. I was thinking about this over the course of the last couple days and it made me realize that regardless of what is going on in the US in terms of market and job availability, there is still going to be a ton of need in the global arena... Definitely puts things back into perspective quickly!

We're never going to be bored... :D And that is a good thing..
 

safariwagon

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burton117 said:
This is a good point.. I was thinking about this over the course of the last couple days and it made me realize that regardless of what is going on in the US in terms of market and job availability, there is still going to be a ton of need in the global arena... Definitely puts things back into perspective quickly!

We're never going to be bored... :D And that is a good thing..
Very interesting thread. Thanks for working all the data. I'd be interested to see if there is a correlation to life expectancies.

I'd also be interested in seeing a ranking of lawyers per 100,000.
 

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safariwagon said:
Very interesting thread. Thanks for working all the data. I'd be interested to see if there is a correlation to life expectancies.

I'd also be interested in seeing a ranking of lawyers per 100,000.
"Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder. A recent book about Dr. Paul Farmer, Harvard MDPhD who has become an inspiration to me because of his work in Haitian communities and his astounding commitment to something he believes in. :thumbup:
 

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I was curious so I did the data.. As you would expect, more doctors correlates to longer life, for a host of other reasons related to poverty. Also its tough to become a doctor in the first place if you only have 35 years to do it in on average...
 

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burton117

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frostybrandx said:
I was curious so I did the data.. As you would expect, more doctors correlates to longer life, for a host of other reasons related to poverty. Also its tough to become a doctor in the first place if you only have 35 years to do it in on average...

That correlation graph definitely shows a positive relationship on that data.. Thanks for doing that, it's definitely an useful way to look at the information. It's definitely an intuitive relationship, but nice to see it articulated with data and explore why any outliers are that way... very nice..
 

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Help! I can't open the attachment! A new screen tells me to log in; I do; it goes back to the same log in page!
 

medhacker

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Here is the second correlation in PDF you will be able to view this file if you have the acrobat reader installed or one of its generics. Salud!
 

Sir Buckethead

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My thoughts:

-An unexpectedly strong showing from the former eastern bloc. I mean, I knew about cuba but I thought it was just their thing. Didnt know it was a communist tradition.

-It's pretty messed up that graduates from places with double-digit doctors per 100,000 are exporting doctors to the US. I remember reading in the Economist that ghanaian doctors (9 per 100,000) routinely do so. By training less doctors than we need, we are kind of being asses.
 

jochi1543

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My thoughts:

-An unexpectedly strong showing from the former eastern bloc. I mean, I knew about cuba but I thought it was just their thing. Didnt know it was a communist tradition.

-It's pretty messed up that graduates from places with double-digit doctors per 100,000 are exporting doctors to the US. I remember reading in the Economist that ghanaian doctors (9 per 100,000) routinely do so. By training less doctors than we need, we are kind of being asses.
I'm actually not particularly suprised by the data from the former socialist countries. Social services were very highly developed, and doctors, much like scientists, were regarded with respect. Education was free, so unlike in the US, financial circumstances were not a barrier to attending medical school. In addition, you got to medical school out of high school, which also meant less of a financial sacrifice - there you missed out on 5 years of earnings, while here you miss out on 8. However, I would like to see this data in 15-20 years, once the physicians trained in the SU retire. Right now, doctors are ridiculously underpaid in Russia (and, I presume, in the rest of the former eastern bloc), and healthcare is generally in the state of disarray, so fewer and fewer people are going into the field, and the ones that are, are strongly leaning towards things like plastic surgery, which allow them to earn a good income.

Regarding the second part, my family doctor is a Nigerian IMG. I don't blame him, he gets a better salary here, and his children will have a more stable future.
 

Sir Buckethead

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You shouldn't blame him. Well, maybe a little.

I'm not sure who to blame exactly. It's just a sad side effect of the brain drain that developing nation doctors are encouraged to go where they are needed the least. I wonder if MSF/medical missionaries constitute an equal but opposite force.
 

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Interesting how there are more doctors per capita in cuba than in the USA. But then again, the US has a far larger GDP than cuba so i guess it could make sense.
 

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I hope you all realize that quantity is not the same as quality.
 

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Doesn't the U.S. import doctors from all over the world? If those doctors are so concerned about helping people, why don't they go to places where they're most needed?

trying working in those countries and you will understand.
 

old_boy

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Interesting how there are more doctors per capita in cuba than in the USA. But then again, the US has a far larger GDP than cuba so i guess it could make sense.
Cuba's stats are misleading. Much of this data is self-reported, and Cuba has obvious incentives to lie. Furthermore, many Cuban doctors are "exported" to places such as Venezuala (something like 20,000 Cuban doctors work abroad, but are still considered Cuban citizens and would be included in these statistics. Just to put that in perspective, the US trains only a little over 15,000 doctors a year).

But no doubt, Cuba has an impressive healthcare system given their tattered economy, particularly in terms of preventative medicine. Almost the exact opposite approach to the US.
 
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What kind of country has 2 physicians per 100,000 people:scared:
 

dmg18

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Cuba's stats are misleading. Much of this data is self-reported, and Cuba has obvious incentives to lie. Furthermore, many Cuban doctors are "exported" to places such as Venezuala (something like 20,000 Cuban doctors work abroad, but are still considered Cuban citizens and would be included in these statistics. Just to put that in perspective, the US trains only a little over 15,000 doctors a year).

But no doubt, Cuba has an impressive healthcare system given their tattered economy, particularly in terms of preventative medicine. Almost the exact opposite approach to the US.
My brother was an OB/GYN resident in the 1990's; he earned about $7 a month.

Those that want to become doctors in Cuba do it because of pure love for the field. However, the severely poor economy forces many to leave the profession in order to provide for their families. My brother quit his residency in his fourth year so that he could rent out video games we sent him for American dollars and help support his wife and child.

We brought him to the states in 2003. He is now learning English in Miami in hopes of starting over: taking boards, redoing residency, etc. Medicine is his life, but his family is also is life. He's not giving up, already in his early 40's.

but yeah, I would agree that the ranking is misleading, since he was identified as a doctor (in Cuba, everyone has these identification cards used for quotas of food, etc., and probably used for these types of reports) until he left the country.

Every time I hear of people praising Cuba for their health care system, I remember my brother telling me the story of how he had to deliver his own child WITHOUT ANESTHESIA, because there simply was none in the hospital he worked at. I do praise the physicians and the educators, because they do it out of poor love of medicine, but not the system, because it is the communist government, rather Castro, that runs everything.

My point: it's important to have a balance of the forces controlling health care assets. Cuba's health care system is not as pretty as it sounds, and there's not much anyone can do about it under that government. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to practice medicine in the states, and if at some point in the future the Cuban government changes, i will be the first on a plane over there. For now, I'll do what I can to make changes in this country's health care system, where we still have a chance to make a difference.
 

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