Access to health care is something many people take advantage of in Western countries. We don’t realize that, though health care can always be improved, we are fortunate to have the number of doctors for the number of people that we do.
From an article in World Atlas, this chart shows the countries with the fewest doctors per millions of people. You can see the results below:
The article states, “In Liberia, the worst case presented on this list, there are essentially ten doctors for every million people. As you move down the list, Guinea fares little better at 100 physicians per million people. In contrast, high-income OECD countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, boast figures closer to 3,000 doctors per million people.”
Though these countries are some of the poorest in the world, they still deserve quality and accessible healthcare! But because they are some of the poorest in the world, the resources are few. Education and training are harder to attain, and for those who do gain access to training, there are few resources to do their job well and the financial benefits are nowhere near what they would be if they worked in another country. According to the British Medical Journal, “African countries have lost about $2.6 billion dollars training doctors who are now living in western countries. A staggering 25 to 50 percent of African-born doctors are working overseas.” This statistic is devastating to health care in the countries that are losing their trained physicians.
For those doctors who do stay in African countries many serve only those who can afford their services. So there is a service discrepancy where the majority of people in the country are not receiving the care they desperately need. There are major consequences to this discrepancy. There are women who suffer childbirth complications and never receive help. There are men, women, and children who struggle with lifelong disease or pain that could be cured or treated if only they could receive the help they need. There are also many cases of preventable disease that affect those who are unable to get vaccinations or aren’t educated on proper prevention.
When asked about what can be done to improve healthcare in African countries, WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said, “Countries should strengthen the leadership and governance of health sectors to gain the confidence of all stakeholders. Governments should be more innovative in raising revenues from domestic sources and ensuring that all of their populations have access to essential health services. They should also improve the quality of health services and the safety of patient and health workers, and build partnerships with civil society and other partners in order to expand access. Investing in district and community health systems should be a priority that can contribute towards universal health coverage”
Another way to help is by supporting organizations like Mission Partners for Christ in sending trained physicians into places that would otherwise not have access to healthcare. We may not be able to help all, but we can still help many with each and every medical missions trip we take.
You can help support what we do to make a difference:
- Join a missions team!
- Financially support one of our medical mission trips.
- Pray for our missions teams.
- Donate medical supplies for one of our trips.
Ask us how you can help, and we would love to partner with you! Contact us here.