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Lack of Doctors in East Africa Spells Opportunity

This month’s indicator figure is 103

103 of what?

This month’s indicator is 103, or the average number of doctors for every one million people in the East African Community countries.

That do you mean by doctors per million people? 

Doctors are defined as registered professionals who diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses, diseases, injuries, and other ailments in people through the use of modern (not traditional) medicine.

In this month’s column we can see that an illustrative country of 1 million people could expect to have 103 doctors and a country with 5 million people could expect to have 515 doctors.

We are focusing exclusively on doctors and not nurses or other medical professionals, as doctors typically are the pinnacle of health care provider leadership and supervision of medical standards and practices in a healthcare facility.

Which EAC country has the most and which the least doctors per million people

Kenya has the most doctors per capita with 200 per million, followed by Uganda at 120 per million. Rwanda is lower at 60 per million and Tanzania has only 15% of its neighbor, Kenya, with 30 doctors per million residents.

How does the EAC compare to other regions of the world in number of doctors?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fewer than 2,300 health workers (physicians, nurses, and midwives only) per one million people would be insufficient to achieve coverage of primary healthcare needs, indicating that the EAC is significantly below WHO levels of healthcare sufficiency.

In the West, the city-state of Monaco has the highest number of doctors at 7,170 per million followed by the island nation of Cuba at 6,720 both over 65 times the density of doctors in East Africa.

On the African continent, Libya has the highest doctor density at 1,900 per million. Looking further south, Nigeria has 410 doctors per million and South Africa has 780 or 7.6 times the average doctor density of EAC countries.

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